Marco Polo life and biography

Marco Polo  picture, image, poster

Marco Polo biography

Date of birth : 1254-09-15
Date of death : 1324-01-08
Birthplace : Venice, Italy
Nationality : Italian
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-05-25
Credited as : Venetian merchant, Il Milione,

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Marco Polo (c. 1254 – January 8, 1324) was a merchant from the Venetian Republic who wrote Il Milione, which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had 3 children. He died in 1324, and was buried in San Lorenzo.

Returning from China after nearly twenty years, Marco Polo had stories and riches unheard of in his homeland of Venice, Italy. Having left with his father to China, Marco would return to the Far East to work as a personal envoy of the Khan Dynasty, which welcomed not only western intellect, but also their religion. Marco Polo would become a legend of his own time, and his book called The Million would be translated and distributed across Europe, even though its stories are refuted by some historians.


Young Marco was born into a family of jewelry traders. Through this kind of trade, they could carry all their wealth on them and would not need massive caravans during their crossing into China. Marco’s father and uncle Maffeo had moved along the route to what is modern-day Uzbekistan, and after a few years of trading, they continued eastward towards what is now Beijing, China.


While there, they met the very open-minded Kublai Khan, who sent the traders back home with a personal letter to the Pope. In Khan’s letter, he requested that the greatest intellectuals of the day be sent to his empire to share their knowledge. Marco’s father decided to bring Marco along for their second journey, which would take approximately three years to complete.


The amazing sights that Marco saw while crossing China is recorded in his book, as is his description of working for Kublai Khan as an envoy. In his work and travels, Marco would travel to different posts throughout the empire, reporting the state of events to the emperor. Additionally, he would talk of Japan and of the great cities he encountered.


Before returning to Venice, Marco would accompany the princess Koekecin to the new Ilkhan.


Upon his return, Venice was at war with Genoa. Marco was put in jail by the Genoese for unknown reasons. But it was during his time in jail that he would tell stories of his adventures to fellow inmate Rustichello de Pisa. De Pisa wrote down Marco’s tales and published them once the two prisoners were released. Marco then moved back to Venice, married, and had three children.



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