The name ‘Atabaque’ is of Arabic origin. This instrument was already around during medieval times, according to poetry of that era, Kings liked it in particular, and were thought to have used it for parties, games and musical gatherings.
The atabaque was well known all over Africa, but according to Waldeloir do Rego, it was brought to Brazil in the hands of the Portuguese. From then on it was used for religious celebrations. The use of the Atabaque is the reason why people thought Capoeira was linked to Candomblé (an African religion).