Marco Polo


Marco Polo was actually born into a family of travelers. He inherited the love for travel from his father (Niccilo Polo) and his uncle (Maffeo Polo).  He was probably born in Venice where he lived with his aunt and uncle. His mother had died and his father and uncle were believed to be dead as well.

His father and uncle were not dead. What had happened was when they were traveling they had been captured. They were saved by Kublai Khan’s army and convinced to return to China. They were treated very well and Kublai Khan was very interested in their lifestyle. He requested that they send a message to the Pope and ask for 100 monks and holy oils. He wanted the monks to teach his people. They agreed to do as he asked.

Marco was fifteen years old when he first met his father. Marco went on the journey back to China with his father and uncle to take the things the Khan had asked for. Marco was fascinated with China and he immediately began writing about it. They were all treated like royalty and given whatever they wanted. Marco was most surprised by the paper money and the coal. The money was surprising because they thought money should be gold or silver. The coal he was also fascinated by and he described it as “stones that burn like logs”.  The Khan quite liked Marco and asked him to be his Privy Council in the year 1277.

He spent 17 years in China and learned four languages. They all decided to return to Venice in fear of a new Khan. They asked Kublai Khan to leave and he refused but later allowed them to leave with a princess on her way to marry a Persian prince. They did not easily fit in when they got back and had a hard time speaking Italian. Marco became a galley ship captain during a war. He eventually married and had four daughters. He never returned to China but encouraged others to travel.

Marco’s book, Travels of Marco Polo was not really accepted as true. It even was given the nickname ” The Million Lies”. Marco said that it was all true and he had not even written half of what he saw. Marco fell ill in the year 1323 and died in 1324. His book influenced many travelers. Most notably his book was found in Christopher Columbus’ ship.