Marco Polo was an Italian merchant adventurer. He was born in Venice in 1254

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  • Marco Polo was an Italian merchant adventurer.

  • He was born in Venice in 1254.

  • Some people debate over the location where he was born.

  • Both his father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo were wealthy jewel merchants.

  • The Marco Polo 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.

  • They stayed for 17 years in China and worked as an advisor and aide to Kublai Khan.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Marco was released from prison in 1299.

  • In 1300 he married with 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.

  • Polo grew to bear the name "Il Milione" because he was considered to be a great storyteller of his time.

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