DAR ES SALAAM, Tanganyika -- Zanzibar President Abeid Karume arrived here today amid cheers of a welcoming crowd to merge his leftist-ruled spice island with the neighboring East African state of Tanganyika.
A 21-gun salute boomed and thousands of persons cheered at the airport as the Zanzibar leader's plane landed here to sign the formal exchange of ratification documents creating a united republic from the two countries.
The exchange ceremony was scheduled for late this afternoon, with Karume and Tanganyikan President Julius Nyerere acting for their governments.
The entire revolutionary council of Zanzibar, which diplomats once feared would turn into the Cuba of Africa, flew here earlier for the ratification ceremony.
The parliaments of the two neighboring nations approved the merger yesterday and only the formal exchange of ratification documents remained.
The president of the new union is Nyerere, who is British-educated and considered a moderate. One of the two vice presidents is Zanzibar's Karume, who had been president of the island nation.
The merger ended the "People's Republic" of Zanzibar, which was set up after the overthrow of the British-backed sultan last January and speedily recognized by the Soviet Union and Communist China.
Under the militant leadership of Foreign Minister Mohammed Babu, Zanzibar dismissed its British civil servants, ordered the U.S. space tracking station to leave the island, and was reported to have received arms from the Soviets.
This led to fears that Babu would create a revolutionary center for Eastern Africa on the island. Unrest from the Zanzibar revolt did spread to Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda shortly after the sultan's overthrow, causing troop mutinies which had to be put down with British aid.
Last week, when Babu was out of the country and the more moderate Karume was in charge, Nyerere flew to Zanzibar, 40 miles from this capital, for a surprise visit and negotiations for the merger.