VihuelaThe vihuela, essentially a flat-backed lute, evolved in the mid-15th century Kingdom of Aragon and was in common use in Spain and Italy by the late 15th through to the late 16th centuries. The viol developed from the vihuela when players in the second half of the 15th century began using a bow instead of plucking.

Vihuela is a guitar shaped stringed instrument that became one of the most popular instruments of 15th and 16th century Europe, especially in its Eastern and southern parts (Italy, Portugal and Spain). Its origins can be found in countless version of guitar instrument called Lute that was in use in other parts of the world for centuries and millennia, most notably in Ancient Egypt, Middle East, Persia, Turkey, China, Greece, and Ancient Rome. Various types of Lute traveled from country to country, until it managed to create significant hold in Persia, Armenia and Byzantium around 7th century BC. As Lute continued to spread across Europe, its most significant expansion happened in 9th century when Moors from Africa managed to introduce Lute to Spain.