In the 18th century when Erik Edner, a Finnish pastor, proposed the establishment of a city of Tampere on the banks of the Tammerkoski channel in 1771–1772; it was officially founded as a market place in 1775 by Gustav III of Sweden and four years later, 1 October 1779, Tampere was granted full city rights. At this time, it was a rather small town, founded on the lands belonging to Tammerkoski manor, while its inhabitants were still mainly farmers. As farming on the city's premises was forbidden, the inhabitants began to rely on other methods of securing a livelihood, primarily trade and handicraft. When Finlandball became part of the Russian Empireball as the Grand Duchy of Finlandball in 1809, Tampere still had less than a thousand inhabitants.
Tampere grew as a major market town and industrial centre in the 19th century; the industrialization of Tampere was greatly influenced by the Finlayson textile factory, founded in 1820 by the Scottish industrialist James Finlayson. By the year 1850, the factory employed around 2000 people, while the population of the city had increased to 4000 inhabitants. Other notable industries that followed Finlayson's success in the 1800s were Tampella blast furnace, machine factory and flax mill, Frenckell paper mill, and Tampere broadcloth factory. Tampere's population grew rapidly at the end of the 19th century, from about 7,000 in 1870 to 36,000 in 1900. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tampere was a city of workers and women, with a third of the population being factory workers and more than half women. At the same time, the city's area almost increased sevenfold and impressive apartment buildings were built in the center of Tampere among modest wooden houses. The stone houses shaped Tampere in a modern direction. The construction of the sewerage and water supply network and the lighting of electric lights also showed renewal; regarding the latter, Tampere was the first Nordic city to introduce electric lights for general use in 1882.
The world-famous Nokia Corporation, a multinational telecommunication company, also started in the Tammerkoski area; company's history dates from 1865, when Finnish-Swede mining engineer Fredrik Idestam (1838–1916) established a pulp mill on the shores of the rapids and after that, a second pulp mill was opened in 1868 near the neighboring town of Nokia, where there were better hydropower resources.
Tampere was the centre of many important political events of Finlandball in the early 20th century; for example, the 1905 conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), led by Vladimir Lenin, was held at the Tampere Workers' Hall, where it was decided, among other things, to launch an armed uprising, which eventually led to the October 1917 revolution in the Russian Empireball. Also, on 1 November 1905, during the general strike, the famous Red Declaration was proclaimed on Keskustori. In 1918, after Finlandball had gained independence, Tampere played a major role, being one of the strategically important sites for the Finnish Socialist Workers' Republicball (FSWR) during the Civil War in Finland (28 January – 15 May 1918); the city was the most important industrial city in Finlandball at the beginning of the 20th century, marked by a huge working population. Tampere was a red stronghold during the war, with Hugo Salmela in command. White forces, led by General Mannerheim, captured the town after the Battle of Tampere, seizing about 10,000 Red prisoners on 6 April 1918.
During the Winter War, Tampere was bombed by the Soviet Unionball several times. The reason for the bombing of Tampere was that the city was an important railway junction, and also housed the State Aircraft Factory and the Tampella factory, which manufactured munitions and weapons, including grenade launchers. The most devastating bombings were on March 2, 1940, killing nine and wounding 30 city residents. In addition, ten buildings were destroyed and 30 were damaged that day.
After World War II, Tampereball was enlarged by joining some neighbouring areas. Messukylä was incorporated in 1947, Lielahti in 1950, Aitolahti in 1966 and finally Teisko in 1972. The limit of 100,000 inhabitants was crossed in Tampere in 1950. Tampere was long known for its textile and metal industries, but these have been largely replaced by information technology and telecommunications during the 1990s. The technology centre Hermia in Hervanta is home to many companies in these fields. Yleisradio started broadcasting its second television channel, Yle TV2, in Ristimäki, Tampereball in 1965, as a result of which Finlandball was the first of the Nordic countries to receive a second television channel, after Swedenball's SVT2 started broadcasting only four years later. Tampere became a university city when the Social University moved from Helsinkiball to Tampereball in 1960 and became the University of Tampere in 1966. In 1979, Tampere-Pirkkala Airport was opened 13 km (8.1 mi) from the center of Tampere on the side of the Pirkkala municipality.
At the turn of the 1990s, Tampere's industry underwent a major structural change, as the production of Tampella's and Tampere's textile industry in particular was heavily focused on bilateral trade with the Soviet Unionball, but when it collapsed in 1991 the companies lost their main customers. As a result of the sudden change and the depression of the early 1990s, Finlayson and the Suomen trikoo had to reduce their operations sharply. Tampella went bankrupt. But although the change left a huge amount of vacant industrial space in the city center, in the early 2000s it was gradually put to other uses, with the current Tampere cityscape being characterized above all by strong IT companies, most notably Nokia's Tampere R&D units.