The ten-hole ocarina was first made by Giuseppe Donati, in Italy, in 1853. Instruments like the ocarina had been made for hundreds of years before that in South America, China, and Africa. In Europe, a form called the gemshorn was made in the 16th century. The gemshorn was made from an animal horn.
In 1928, the Japanese began making ocarinas. They added two small holes to the old kind of ocarinas. Japanese 12-hole ocarinas can play a larger scale than 10-hole ocarinas.
In the 1960s, the English ocarina was invented. It has four finger holes, and may have one or two thumb holes. English ocarinas are made in many shapes.