1771 in Great Britain
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- 22 January – Spain cedes the Falkland Islands to Britain.
- 15 March – Society of Civil Engineers first meets (in London), the world's oldest engineering society.
- 12 July – first voyage of James Cook (begun 1768): HMS Endeavour anchors in The Downs, and Captain Cook goes ashore at Deal, Kent, following his global circumnavigation.
- 8 August – first recorded town cricket match played at Horsham; Horsham Cricket Club formed here soon after 1806.
- 17 August – Edinburgh botanist James Robertson makes the first recorded ascent of Ben Nevis.
- 30 September – Bath Assembly Rooms completed.
- 2 October – Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, brother to the King, marries a commoner, the widow Anne Horton, in Mayfair, precipitating the Royal Marriages Act 1772.
- 16 November – during the night:
- Industrial Revolution: Richard Arkwright begins to develop cotton mills at Cromford in the Derwent Valley of Derbyshire, one of the earliest factory complexes.
- Harewood House, West Yorkshire, completed to the designs of John Carr and Robert Adam.
- Warren Hastings of the British East India Company becomes governor of Bengal in India.
- St George's Circus intersection built in London.
- Edinburgh Society of Bowlers codifies the modern rules for bowls.
- Encyclopædia Britannica completes publication.
- Henry Mackenzie's novel The Man of Feeling.
- Tobias Smollett's novel The Expedition of Humphry Clinker.
- Peter Williams (1722–1796)'s Hymns on Various Subjects (includes "Prayer for Strength", the first English translation of the Welsh hymn "Cwm Rhondda").
- Arthur Young's The Farmer's Kalendar.
- Allegri's Miserere.
- 5 February – John Lingard, Roman Catholic priest (died 1851)
- 13 April – Richard Trevithick, Cornish inventor (died 1833)
- 3 June – Sydney Smith, writer and clergyman (died 1845)
- 7 July – John Britton, antiquary and topographer (died 1857)
- 15 August – Walter Scott, Scottish novelist and poet (died 1832)
- 11 September – Mungo Park, Scottish explorer of West Africa (died 1806)
- 25 December – Dorothy Wordsworth, poet and diarist (died 1855)
- 5 January – John Russell, Duke of Bedford, statesman (born 1710)
- 21 May – Christopher Smart, poet (born 1722)
- 8 June – Lord Halifax, statesman (born 1716)
- 30 July – Thomas Gray, writer (born 1716)
- 17 September – Tobias Smollett, Scottish-born novelist (born 1721)
- 6 November – John Bevis, physician and astronomer (born 1695)
- 15 December – Benjamin Stillingfleet, botanist (born 1702)
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 326–327. ISBN 978-0-304-35730-7.
- Watson, Garth (1989). The Smeatonians: The Society of Civil Engineers. London: Thomas Telford. ISBN 978-0-7277-1526-5.
- Roberts, Gwilym (1995). From Kendal's Coffee House to Great George Street. London: Thomas Telford. ISBN 978-0-7277-2022-1.
- "Horsham Cricket Club History". Horsham Cricket Club. Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- McEwen, Lindsey J.; Withers, Charles W. J. (1989). "Historical records and geomorphological events: the 1771 'eruption' of Solway Moss". Scottish Geographical Magazine. 105 (3): 149–157. doi:10.1080/14702548908554428.
- "BBC History British History Timeline". Archived from the original on 9 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
- Marshall, P. J. (September 2004). "Hastings, Warren (1732–1818)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12587. Retrieved 2011-11-01. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Keene, Henry George (1891). . In Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of National Biography. 25. London: Smith, Elder & Co.