Marco Polo Biography
One among the first Europeans to set foot on China, Marco Polo was the 13th century explorer, who as a teenager travelled along with his father and uncle to meet Emperor Kublai Khan in China. He spent several years in China, where he worked in the court of Kublai Khan, who was so impressed with Polo that he made him the ruler of one of his cities. He served in many high positions under the Chinese emperor, some of which include: serving as his representative, ambassador and governor of one of his provinces. When he returned home, after 24 years, he had gathered immense wealth, jewels and treasures and also brought to Venice fascinating tales about the Chinese way of life. Authored by Rustichello da Pisa, the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ is a detailed account of all his travel expeditions and experiences in China with Emperor Kublai Khan. After the publication of this book, he became a famous personality in Venice and inspired many others to travel, including Christopher Columbus. To learn more interesting facts about his childhood, personal life and interesting accounts about his travel expeditions and experiences, scroll down and continue to read the biography of Marco Polo.
- Marco Polo was born to Nicole Anna Defuseh and Niccolò Polo, a merchant who was on a trading expedition at the time of his birth. It is generally believed by the historians that he was born in Venice, Italy
- In 1260, while his father and Uncle Maffeo Polo were trading in Constantinople, his mother passed way and he lived with his aunt and uncle. He soon became well versed with merchant trading.
- In 1271, he along with his father, Niccolò Polo and uncle, Maffeo Polo commenced expedition to Asia. They travelled through Persia and Tartary.
- In 1274, after travelling for three years, they reached Cathay, Northern China. His father and uncle met Kublai Khan there and greeted him with papal letters, and they were appointed in the king’s court.
- In 1275, he was chosen to be the official representative of Emperor Kublai Khan and joined the king on various missions, for which he travelled extensively all over China.
- In the 1280s, he travelled to many parts of the Asian continent and he was subsequently appointed as the governor of one of the Kublai Khan’s cities.
- In 1292, Kublai Khan got his daughter, Princess Cocachin married. Polo travelled along with the wedding party to Persia in a ship and they stopped in Borneo, Sumatra and Ceylon, among other places.
- In 1295, after the death of Kublai Khan the previous year, 24 years after he had set on a voyage to China, he returned to Venice with a vast collection of fine jewels, riches and treasures.
- On October 9, 1298, the Battle of Curzola between Venice and Genoa commenced and during this time he was captured and imprisoned for several months.
- During his time in jail, he shared accounts of his travel experiences and expeditions with fellow inmate, Rustichello da Pisa, who later authored the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’.
- In August 1299, he was released from prison, after which he travelled to his home in Venice, where his family had settled in a big bungalow.
- He settled down in Venice and went on to become one of the affluent merchants in the city, who granted loans to other travellers who wished to go out on expeditions.
- In 1300, the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ was released; the book becomes an instant bestseller and made him one of the most famous figures in Venice.
- In 1300, he wedded Donata Badoer, who was the daughter of Vitale Badoer, a prosperous merchant. The couple had three daughters together, Fantina, Bellela and Moreta.
- By 1323, he became very sick and bedridden and the following year he died at the age of 70 in Venice. He was laid to rest at the San Lorenzo di Venezia church.
- Published in 1972, the book ‘Invisible cities’, written by Italo Calvino was based on the cities Marco Polo claimed to have visited and also his experiences in China.
- The airport of Venice is named the Venice Marco Polo Airport, in his honour.
- This famous explorer and merchant did not meet his father until he was about fifteen or sixteen. In 1269, he met his father, Niccolò Polo for the first time, after Niccolò returned from his trading voyage.
- This famous 13th century explorer, traveller and merchant travelled across the Gobi desert in order to reach China, this took several months and the desert was also said to be haunted by evil spirits.
- Many historians speculate that this famous 13th century explorer and traveller did not actually travel to China because in his book he does not mention the Great Wall of China, chopsticks or any Chinese characters.
How To Cite
People Also Viewed