The cajon is one of the world's most simple musical instruments. It is believed to have originated amongst slave musicians in the Spanish Colonial Americas during the early 1800s.
There are two theories of exactly where the cajon came from. One is that the cajon is a direct descendant of box like drums from Angola and the Antilles. When slaves from Africa had no instruments to play they adapted the drums from the shipping crates they had at their disposal.
Another theory is due to the Spanish colonial bans on music in African culture. The slaves developed box like instruments because they were easy to disguise as seats or stools, thus they were able to keep their traditions alive while remaining undetected.
The early use of the cajon was to accompany old versions of Marinera dances like the Tondero or Zamacueca.
Rubem Dantas percussionist for Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia discovered the Peruvian Cajon while on tour in South America. Upon introducing it into the band, Dantas sparked a movement that would see the cajon as a staple in any flamenco ensemble.
Today the cajon is extensively used in Afroperuano styles, Afro-Cuban, coastal Peruvian, and flamenco music but is also becoming increasingly popular across many musical genres thought the world.
The Cajon is also a delceard "national instrument" in Peru and is a main part of its rich cultural heritage.