Never used by the French in a serious manner, the language was adopted in the early 1920s by Protestant missionaries and later by Roman Catholics as a religious language.
Tribes in the technical sense never existed in this region, although in the east there were two indigenous non-Muslim sultanates. After colonization, the conquered people began to communicate in Sango, the pidgin that emerged quickly out of contacts between the diverse foreign Africans who were brought by the French—and the Belgians who preceded them in 1887— to be used as militia, workers and personal servants, and the inhabitants of the upper Ubangi River.
By 1910, Sango had become a stable lingua franca spread by soldiers and others serving the whites.
Bangui's population has increased because of forced labor in the hinterlands in the colonial period and, since independence, urban attractions and economic opportunities.
There are fifteen secondary urban centers of populations with from twenty to thirty thousand inhabitants that consist of villages inhabited by persons with different employment and ethnic identities.