While it is unknown who created the first mandolin, the instrument was first seen in Naples, Italy in the 15th century. The original instrument was called a mandore and was an adapted version of the lute. The redesigned version was called the mandolino, and it eventually became known as the mandolin.
Mandolins evolved from a family of lute-like plucked instruments which first appeared in Mesopotamia around 2000 BC. A descendant of these instruments, called an oud, or ud, was subsequently brought to Spain by the Moors around 700 AD. Over time, frets were added, and the instrument became known as a lute. As time went on, the lute evolved, and the smaller version which eventually became known as the mandolin appeared in Europe in the 1400s.