What Are Some Marco Polo Quick Facts?

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Marco Polo was one of the most important and famous explorers and writers from Europe; however, the details of his early life and person life are hard to discover.

Facts About Marco Polo

  • Marco Polo was an Italian merchant adventurer.
  • He was born in Venice.
  • His birthday was in 1254.
  • The exact date of his birth has been up for debate at various times.
  • Some people debate over the location where he was born.
  • His father's name was Niccolo Polo. His mother died when he was very young.
  • Both his father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo were wealthy jewel merchants.
  • His father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo went to China in 1266 to set up a trading business. Marco did not go with them.
  • Niccolo and Maffeo met the Mongol prince Kublai Khan who asked them to go to the Pope and request that 100 European priests come to China to teach.
  • The Polos were some of the first Europeans who traveled to China and Mongolia.
  • Marco's first trip to Asia was in 1271 when he was 17 years old. He traveled with his father and his uncle to the Mongol Empire in China.
  • It took four years for Marco, his father and his uncle to reach China.
  • They stayed for 17 years in China and worked as an advisor and aide to Kublai Khan.
  • Marco is famous for his journeys through Asia where he documented what he saw for Kublai Khan.
  • On his return trip to Europe, the three Polo men escorted the daughter of one of Kublai Khan's regional rulers to Persia in 1292. This caused his return trip to take three years.
  • After the collapse of the Mongol Empire, it was basically impossible to go to those same regions that Marco had once explored.
  • When he returned to Venice he was captured at the age of 44 by the people living in Genoa and put in jail due to a conflict between Genoa and Venice.
  • During his time in jail he dictated his book The Travels of Marco Polo
    that chronicled his travels.
  • He dictated his book to another prisoner, Rustichello da Pisa, who was an Italian romance writer. Rustichello became the co-author of Marco's book.
  • His book greatly described the Silk Road in China. It was printed in French, Italian and Latin.
  • For hundreds of years, Polo remained the only European source about China.
  • Polo's descriptions eventually wound up influencing Christopher Columbus. Columbus took a copy of Marco Polo's book with him when he set off to find a new route to the Orient.
  • Although Polo was not the very first European to make these travels, Marco brought back the most information and had the seemingly best experience of all of the others.
  • Marco was released from prison in 1299.
  • In 1300 he married Donata Badoer.
  • Donata and Marco Polo had three daughters - Bellela, Fantina and Moretta.
  • Marco Polo was a Christian.
  • Marco Polo became ill and doctors tried to heal him, but they were not successful and he passed away.
  • He lived until the age of 69, although he was just a few months short of 70 at his death on January 8, 1324.
  • He is buried in the Church of San Lorenzo in Venice.
  • The Marco Polo sheep was named after him.
  • Polo grew to bear the name "Il Milione" because he was considered to be a great storyteller of his time.

Now you know a great deal of information about Marco Polo, the famous explorer who brought a wealth of knowledge to Europe from Asia.