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Marco Polo

Born: 1254 AD
Died: 1324 AD
Nationality: Italian
Categories: Adventurers, Explorer, Merchants

1254 – born – Venice, Italy


1271-95 -Venetian merchant and traveler who journeyed from Europe to Asia.



1274- He was born into a Venetian merchant family, he joined his father and uncle on a journey to China, traveling along the Silk Road and reaching the court of Kublai Khan.



         -The Polos remained in China for about 17 years, and the Mongol emperor sent Marco on several fact-finding missions to distant lands.



1282-87 – Marco Polo may also have governed (or assisted, when a guest of) the city of Yangzhou.



1295 – The Polos returned to Venice in 1295, after sailing from eastern China to Persia and then journeying overland through Turkey.



1298 – He entered the service of Venice in its war against the rival city-state of Genoa. Marco served as

a gentleman-commander of a Galley in the Venetian navy.


1298 – In September he was captured and imprisoned in Genoa. Marco was imprisoned along with a writer, Rustichello, who helped him to write the tale of his travels. The book, Il milione. His book, Il Milione (the title comes from either "The Million", then considered an extremely big number, or from Polo’s family nickname Emilione),



1299 – His fame as an adventurer had preceded him, and he was treated with courtesy and leniency. He was released within a year.



1299-1300 – The book, Il milione, was an instant success. A combination of Marco Polo’s gift of observation and the literary style of Rusticiano (Rustichello) emerged in the final version of Marco Polo’s travels. He returned home to Venice, where his father and uncles had bought a large house in the central quarter named contrada San Giovanni Crisostomo with the company’s profits. The company continued its activities, and Marco was now a wealthy merchant. While he personally financed other expeditions, he would never leave Venice again.



1300 –  He married Donata Badoer, a woman from an old, respected patrician family. Marco would have three children with her: Fantina, Bellela and Moreta. All of them later married into noble families.



1310-1320, he wrote a new version of his book, Il Milione, in Italian. The text was lost, but not before a Franciscan friar, named Francesco Pipino, translated it into Latin. This Latin version was then translated back into the Italian, creating conflicts between different editions of the book.



1324 – Marco Polo died in his home on January, at almost 70 years old.



1477 – A German version of his book, Das puch des edeln Ritters vn Landfahrers Marcho polo, was among the earliest German printed books.



1492 – Marco Polo’s description of the Far East and its riches inspired Christopher Columbus’s decision to try to reach those lands by a western route. A heavily annotated copy of Polo’s book was among the belongings of Columbus. 



1300-1800’s – it was the chief-almost the sole-Western source of information on the East, until the late 19th cent. there was no other European material on many parts of central Asia.



In his book, which was translated into most languages, Marco left a wealth of information. His cartographical information has proved remarkably accurate when tested by modern methods. His observations about customs and local characteristics have also been verified by subsequent research.