Who was Marco Polo?

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Marco Polo

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Marco Polo was born in Venice in 1254 and was a wealthy merchant and explorer.

He is well known for his travels to Central Asia and China. In 1271, Marco Polo, his father and his uncle set out for Asia in a series of adventures, where they met Kublai Khan (Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty). They returned to Venice 24 years later, in 1295.

When the three returned to Italy, Venice was in war with Genoa. Marco Polo armed a galley to join the war alongside Venice, but the Genoese won, and he was eventually captured. He spent several months of his imprisonment dictating a detailed account of his travels to a fellow inmate, Rusticulo da Pisa. The book soon spread all over Europe in a handwritten form and became known as ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’. No authentic version of his book is saved and the first manuscripts differ significantly. His innovative journey inspired Christopher Columbus and other explorers.

Marco Polo was finally released in August 1299 and returned to Venice. He married a merchant’s daughter and got three daughters. He died in 1324 at the age of about 70 years.

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