Marco Polo (1254-1324)

Marco Polo

1254 This seems to be the year when Marco Polo was born, probably in Venice, Italy. He was a Venetian trader and adventurer who spent twenty four years travelling through Asia and reached beyond Mongolia, until China. His notes about Far East inspired and opened the way towards great expeditions of discovery.

1271 He went to the East, together with his father, Niccolo, and his uncle, Matteo, after other Europeans in order to find new markets in the East. They would have been travelling for a quarter of century. They crossed Armenia, Persia, Afghanistan, Pamir and across the silk road, crossing the big Mongolian steppes and Gobi desert, through China and reached to the Court of great Mongolian Emperor Kublai-Khan, to the new capital of Hanbalik (Beijing nowadays).

1275 He arrived to Kublai-Khan’s Court. Being good at foreign languages, Marco became the favourite of the great Khan and was appointed to an important position within the administration. He served to the Khan’s Court and was sent to several special missions in China, Burma and Indonesia, reaching to some places that Europeans would see only in century XIX. He became member of Kublai-Khan’s intimate council and was his representative in Yangzhou city for three years. Marco was very impressed by the new Khan’s city and by his palace – the greatest said he, of all in the world. Marco also noticed some Orientals’ achievements – paper money, coals and imperial post.

Polo’s group spent 16 years to Khan’s palace and achieved an impressive fortune (gold and jewels). They were eager to leave being afraid for what could have happened to them if the Khan would die. Initially, the Khan did not want to allow them leave, but till last they established to accompany a Mongolian princess to Persia and left towards home in 1292. After a two-year trip on the sea – they crossed China Sea and Indian Ocean – they arrived to Hormuz and walked towards Constantinople; then they arrived to Venice where their relatives and friends believed they had died  a long time ago. 

1295 They arrived to Venice, full of stories about unseen riches and extraordinary things. They also brought a request done by the great Khan for the Pope, asking to send 100 missionaries in order to convert Mongolian tribes.

1298 Three years after, Marco was captured by Genovese while he was leading a Venetian galley and spent one year into a Genovese prison. There he started to dictate the story of his trip. “I think it was God’s wish to return here as if people find out the things which take place in the world”, Marco said.

1299 Marco was freed and went back to Venice; he married and had three daughters, and had a quiet life until his death.

1324 On the 9th of January, Marco Polo died at Venice, Italy, being 70 years old. Dying, He remarked: “I did not tell even half of what I had seen”.[1]

 

 

Bibliography:

1 - Marco Polo (1254-1324), ro.biography.name

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