In the year AD 1971...
- The 25-year-old Bretton Woods System of fixed currency exchange rates collapses after US President Richard Nixon shocks the world by unilaterally and unexpectedly announcing that the US will no longer convert dollars into gold at a fixed rate.
- Civil war breaks out between West Pakistan and East Pakistan when Pakistani president Yahiya Khan undemocratically invalidates election results which would have given the East Pakistan-based Awami League an overwhelming majority in the Pakistani parliament. Ultimately, India is drawn into the conflict, crushing the West Pakistani forces in a 14-day campaign and forcing West Pakistan to recognize the former East Pakistan as the newly independent nation of Bangladesh.
- The United Nations votes to expel Taiwan and admit the People's Republic of China to both the UN and the UN Security Council in its stead.
- Western oil-consuming nations are finally forced to recognize the growing power of OPEC as 23 western oil companies sign a treaty with the organization to stabilize world oil prices. Meanwhile signs of the United States' increasing dependence on foreign oil appear. For the first time ever, the US becomes a net importer of oil. Meanwhile, US domestic oil production peaks at an all-time high of 4.5 billion barrels per day - a figure it will never approach again.
- Six Sheikdoms on the coast of the Persian Gulf unite to form the United Arab Emirates.
- Qatar gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
- The 26th Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, lowering the voting age to 18.
- In Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the US Supreme Court rules unanimously that busing may be used to achieve school desegregation.
- Apollo 14 makes the third successful moon landing.
- A new stock market index known as NASDAQ debuts.
- Walt Disney World opens in Orlando, Florida.
- British rock group Led Zeppelin releases their untitled fourth album, generally known as "Led Zeppelin IV," which features hits such as "When the Levee Breaks", "Rock and Roll," and one of the most famous rock song of all time, "Stairway To Heaven."
- John Lennon releases his second solo album Imagine, whose eponymous title song presents a utopian vision of a harmonious world that would ultimately define Lennon's legacy to the world.
- American country-western singer Johnny Cash pens his iconic protest song "The Man in Black."
- Legendary rock band The Eagles forms around members of Linda Ronstadt's backup band.
- During a severe thunderstorm over the state of Washington an unidentified man calling himself D.B. Cooper parachutes out of an airliner he hijacked with $200,000 in ransom money. The man and the money are never seen again.
These people were born in 1971...
These people died in 1971...
Several memorable films appeared in 1971, including: