President’s Office, Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Service and Good Governance


Revolutionary Day

Zanzibar Revolution Day 12nd January

Zanzibar Revolution Day is a public holiday in Tanzania observed on January 12th. The day marks the 1954 revolution that overthrew the Sultan following independence from Britain.

History of Zanzibar Revolution Day

Zanzibar is a series of islands off the east coast of Africa and a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.

On December 10th 1963, the islands’ status as a British protectorate ended, with Zanzibar becoming a constitutional monarchy, with Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah as ruler. The monarchy was short-lived – just over a month later, on January 12th 1964, a revolution led by John Okello of the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) overthrew the sultan.

The revolution resulted in over 20,000 casualties. Arabs and Indians bore the brunt of the violence, with many more fleeing the country. The leader of the ASP, Abeid Karume, was named as president and the country’s name changed to the People’s Republic of Zanzibar.

In April 1964, Zanzibar merged with mainland Tanganyika. The United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was soon renamed, as the United Republic of Tanzania.