Area where Tampere is located (between two lakes, split by Tammerkoski rapids), has had settlement for approximately 1000 years now - it was known as market place in 17th century, and village of 200 person around 18th century. In the year 1779 Gustav III of Sweden (Finland was part of Sweden at that time) decided to promote the little village to town.
In 1780, Abraham Häggman started a paper mill, being the first factory built in the city, showing the way to others to follow. Although city was supposed to be industrial city, it took about 40 years after promoting the village to town before industry started to gather on the area. John Paterson and James Finlayson arrived to the city in 1819, in which time Finland was part of the Russia and Finlayson saw that this would be good place for a factory, and asked the Russian Czar if he could start a factory in Tampere. Czar gave the plot for free to Finlayson, and so Finlayson built his factory, cotton wool plant.
Later on 19th century, Carl von Nottbeck was working at Thomas Alva Edison's factory, far, far away from Finland - and brought electricity with him to Tampere in early 1880's. He brough two generators, other which had serial number "3", being the 3rd oldest generator in world. In the year 1882 first electric light was lit in Finlayson factory - making Tampere the first town in Finland which had electric light.
Nothing very special happened until 1917; the Russian revolution, and general strike; Finland declares its independence from Russia; Finnish civil war in 1918, most of the major battles were fought in Tampere.
After the wars, Tampere was quickly expanding with new industries coming to town, and two remarkable things happened in the 1920's - two big accidents. First one, the burning of movie theater Imatra, caused the death of 21 people in the year 1927, and two years later, in 1929, the shipwreck of Kuru, a ship that took with her 138 people. There is a memorial monument for Kuru in Näsinpuisto, from where one can see the place of accident. During the 1930's the streets of Tampere saw a change - or actually only the names. All swedish and russian streetnames were removed.
1939-1945, the second world war, during which Tampere got bombed few times. Overall, damage wasn't very heavy, and life continued on after the war. City was expanding - industry was very good employer. In the year 1957 first local tv broadcast was sent by Tamvisio. Later on, in 1965 Yleisradio TV-2 channel continued the work of Tamvisio.
After that, the city has been growing up, and biggest notable event has been the building of Hervanta.
note: i'll try dig up some more info here from years after 1965.