TIMELINE: Reuters, from pigeons to multimedia player

(Reuters) - Canada-based electronic publisher Thomson Corp closes its takeover of Reuters Group Plc on Thursday to create Thomson Reuters TRIL.LTRI.NTRI.TOTRIN.O, the world's largest news and financial data publisher.

Following is a chronology of key moments in Reuters’ history:

1851 - German-born Paul Julius Reuter opens an office in the City of London that transmits stock market quotations between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover cable.

Reuter had previously used pigeons to fly stock prices between Aachen and Brussels, a service that operated for a year until a gap in the telegraph link was closed.

1865 - Reuters is first in Europe with news of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

1870s - As overland telegraph and undersea cable facilities developed, Reuters expands beyond Europe to the Far East in 1872 and South America in 1874.

1923 - Reuters pioneers the use of radio to transmit news internationally.

1925 - The Press Association, the UK press agency, takes a majority holding in Reuters.

1927 - Reuters introduces the teleprinter to distribute news to London newspapers.

1939 - Reuters moves its corporate headquarters to 85 Fleet Street.

During both World Wars, Reuters comes under pressure from the British government to serve British interests.

In 1941 Reuters deflects this pressure by restructuring itself as a private company. The new owners, the British national and provincial press, form the Reuters Trust, with independent trustees.

The Trust preserves Reuters independence and neutrality. The principles of the Trust are maintained and the power to enforce them is strengthened when Reuters becomes a public company in 1984.

1973 - Reuter Monitor launches, creating an electronic marketplace for foreign exchange. The service expands to carry news and prices covering securities, commodities and money and leads to the 1981 launch of the Reuter Monitor Dealing Service.

1984 - Reuters floats as a public company in London.

1995 - Reuters establishes its Greenhouse Fund’ to take minority investments in a range of start-up technology companies, initially in the United States.

2000 - Reuters announces plans to accelerate its use of Internet technologies. Its shares set a record intraday high of 1,715 pence on March 7, days before the peak of the tech bubble.

2001, July - Tom Glocer, a former mergers and acquisitions lawyer, becomes the first American to run the company.

2003 - Reuters unveils Fast Forward, a three-year program to make it more competitive. Its shares end a three-year decline when they touch a low of 95.25 pence on March 12, having lost nearly 95 percent of their value.

2005 - Reuters consolidates most of its London-based operations into one building in the Canary Wharf financial district of London.

2007, May 4 - Reuters says it has received an approach.

2007, May 7 - Thomson confirms it has approached Reuters.

2007, May 15 - Thomson and Reuters say they have agreed to a deal, valuing Reuters at $17.2 billion.

2008, Feb 19 - Regulators in Europe, the United States and Canada give the antitrust go-ahead for the deal.

2008, March 26 - Reuters shareholders approve the takeover.

2008, April 17 - Thomson Reuters begins.

Sources: Company Web site, Reuters news reports

Reporting by Gavin Haycock in London; Editing by Gary Hill