History of MandolinThe mandolin in its current incarnation evolved from the lute in Italy during the 19th Century, but earlier versions of the instrument were played during the 14th Century around Europe. (The history of the lute stretches much further back.) Also related to the mandolin are the mandola, bazouki, mando-bass, mandocello, and octave mandolin.
The mandolin came to the States via European immigrants. Soon, it became fashionable to play mandolin in a large group of other mandolins and mandolin orchestras emerged. It wasn't until the 1930s that the mandolin became a popular addition to smaller bands in country and bluegrass music. More specifically, Bill Monroe's popularity first with the Monroe Brothers and then with his Blue Grass Boys, helped to popularize the instrument.