Bourbon Mayaguez 71 got its name because it is believed to have transited from Central America through the USDA germplasm collection of Mayaguez in Puerto Rico. Bourbon had previously been introduced to Puerto Rico from Central America. It was introduced to the germplasm collection at Mulungu in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1930s, and then introduced to Rwanda in the early 1950s. It is an important variety in Rwanda.
When the population of Bourbon Mayaguez was introduced to East Africa, some mother trees were selected over others as the basis for the release of new varieties. Bourbon Mayaguez 71 and Bourbon Mayaguez 139 resulted from these selections; they are very similar in agronomic performance.