Marco Polo

Joseph Overman, Kaushik Nadimpalli


The Adventures of the Great Western Traveler


Who: Marco Polo was a great Italian Venetian Merchant who was one of the first westerner traveler who traveled on the Silk Road for trade and good fortune. His exact location of birth was unknown, but many believe him to be born either in the coast of Dalmatia or Venice 1254.

What: His travels took place for more than a quarter of a century. He first started traveling with his Niccolo and Maffeo(HIS FATHER AND HIS UNCLE), and the he traveled with his brothers. His greatest adventures were just him traveling in the Silk Road and encouraging trade among the people there and westerners.

When: His travels lasted from 1271-1295

Where: During the beginning, his journey with uncle and father took place from Venice to Cathey. Later, he traveled to the silk road where most of his known adventures took place

Why: A well-known traveler and explorer, Marco Polo headed for China along the Silk Road in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). The Travels of Marco Polo, dictated by him, described Chinese politics, economy, and culture in detail, which greatly aroused the desire of westerner to go to China and had a great effect on the European navigation.

How: He reached the rank of "Envoy" for Khan, and that allowed him to travel in a caravan across the land.


  • Marco was captured during an attack on Genoa, and was in prison for over a year. A fellow prisoner was a successful writer who recorded Marco’s experiences after convincing him to describe them in detail.

  • The legitimacy of Marco Polo’s book, named The Description of the World or The Travels of Marco Polo, was called in question by a fair majority of readers. Many readers doubted that he made it all the way to China. His stories failed to reference significant details such as the Great Wall of China, tea, and common Chinese traditions. Chinese governmental documents concerning immigration had no record of him ever entering the country.

  • Regardless of true events, the book had a significant impact on future explorers, and was even read by Christopher Columbus

  • Marco Polo’s book exists in 80 different versions, translated into several different languages, making it the most influential record of the Silk Road.

  • Experts during the 18th and 19th century confirmed the majority of his travels

  • Marco Polo’s account of his travels on the Silk Road provide a window into civilization during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Historians today rely on Polo’s books for valuable information about his time period

  • European participation was greatly increased due to the diffusion of Marco Polo’s tales. The trough of information uncovered the mystery of the Silk Road, which had previously stifled business ventures from Europe.

  • Maps based off the book proved an invaluable tool for expanding European influence on the Silk Road.

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