The banjo has a rich history in the Caribbean, the region where we first find the traces of the instrument in the 17th century. Indeed, it seems that it is in the Caribbean that the instrument first emerged and was consolidated, for there is about a fifty year lag between the first sources we have describing the instrument in this region, from the 1680s, and those from North America, which are from the late 1730s. Here, we offer a few avenues for understanding the fascinating history of the banjo in the Caribbean.

The Banjo in Jamaican Mento

The Haitian Banza

The Maroon Banza in Saint-Domingue