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Marco Polo

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

Marco Polo is one of the most well-known heroic travelers and traders around the world. In my paper I will discuss with you Marco Polo's life, his travels, and his visit to China to see the great Khan. Marco Polo was born in c.1254 in Venice. He was a Venetian explorer and merchant whose account of his travels in Asia was the primary source for the European image of the Far East until the late 19th century. Marco's father, Niccolò, and his uncle Maffeo had traveled to China (1260-69) as merchants. When they left (1271) Venice to return to China, they were accompanied by 17-year-old Marco and two priests. Early Life Despite his enduring fame, very little was known about the personal life of Marco Polo. It is known that he was born into a leading Venetian family of merchants. He also lived during a propitious time in world history, when the height of Venice's influence as a city-state coincided with the greatest extent of Mongol conquest of Asia(Li Man Kin 9). Ruled by Kublai Khan, the Mongol Empire stretched all the way from China to Russia and the Levant. The Mongol hordes also threatened other parts of Europe, particularly Poland and Hungary, inspiring fear everywhere by their bloodthirsty advances. Yet the ruthless methods brought a measure of stability to the lands they controlled, opening up trade routes such as the famous Silk Road. Eventually ,the Mongols discovered that it was more profitable to collect tribute from people than to kill them outright, and this policy too stimulated trade(Hull 23). Into this favorable atmosphere a number of European traders ventured, including the family of Marco Polo. The Polos had long-established ties in the Levant and around the Black Sea: for example, they owned property in Constantinople, and Marco's uncle, for whom he was named, had a home in Sudak in the Crimea(Rugoff 8). From Sudak, around 1260, another uncle, Maffeo, and Marco's father, Niccolò, made a trading visit into Mongol territory, the land of the Golden Horde(Russia), ruled by Berke Khan. While they were there, a war broke out between Berke and the Cowan of Levant , blocking their return home. Thus Niccolò and Maffeo traveled deeper into mongol territory, moving southeast to Bukhara, which was ruled by a third Cowan. While waiting there, they met an emissary traveling farther eastward who invited them to accompany him to the court of the great Cowan,...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   Biographies

Length:   8 pages (1,824 words)

Views:   1506

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