Every 12 January is a national holiday in Tanzania to remember the Zanzibar Revolution that occurred in 1964. It is also the day when Abeid Karume, the father of the current president of Zanzibar, Amani Karume, took office.
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Zanzibar Revolutionary Day is celebrated officially at the Amaan Stadium, and there is also a wreath-laying ceremony at Abeid Karume’s grave. In general, Zanzibar Revolutionary Day is a patriotic event that celebrates finally gaining freedom after two centuries of Arab domination of Zanzibar.
After having been a possession of the Arab state of Oman, Zanzibar gained its independence in 1963. The new government was headed by a sultan and was mostly run by Arabs. And despite winning 54 percent of the vote in the 1963 parliamentary elections, the main African party lost anyway due to under-representation.
When peaceful electoral means had failed to bring change, the island’s African majority revolted and overthrew the sultanate. Over 600 revolutionaries defeated the national police force, took over the capital city of Zanzibar Town, and seized control of the whole country.