From there, he would establish a despotic regime which was blatantly oppressive.
After making more enemies than friends, he was ousted in a bloody coup in 1972 that claimed his own life. But how did it happen?
One fine evening in April 1972, Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume sat down to play cards and sip a bitter coffee with his cronies in what was the headquarters of the ruling Afro-Shirazi Party in Zanzibar Town.
Suddenly, two cars pulled up outside, and four men armed with automatic weapons and revolvers jumped out.
They would later burst into the building and spray gunfire at the card players, killing Sheikh Karume instantly.
Karume's bodyguard shot one of the attackers dead and the driver of one of the getaway cars was captured. The others escaped.
The assassination would mark the end of the reign of terror by the man who was a cruel, erratic despot.