Bongos originated in Cuba around the late 19th century and were created for Latin American dance bands. During this time, bongos were most prevalent in eastern Cuba in a style of Cuban music called Changui and Son.
Changui and Son developed after slavery was abolished in eastern Cuba. Bongos originally were tacked and tuned with a heat source up until the 1940s, after which metal lugs made tuning easier and more efficient. The Abakua religion in Cuba still uses the bongos for religious purposes. Afro-Caribbean rhythms influenced jazz and dance music around the world in the early 20th century. After this influence, bongos gained popular recognition.