No one is exactly sure when the banjo was invented, but its earliest mention was in 1620. Banjos are thought to have been invented by African slaves.
Historians believe banjos were based on instruments already in existence in Africa. In a document dated 1678, banjos were mentioned for the first time as existing in the Western Hemisphere. The original word for banjo was "banza." The banjo was almost completely wiped out during the Great Depression. Today, banjos are used in many types of music. Banjos are often heard in folk, country and bluegrass music.