This essay Marco Polo has a total of 1770 words and 9 pages.
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, Niccol?, 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.
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, Niccol?, 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 Niccol? 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, Kublai, in Cathay(modern China). In
Cathay, Kublai Khan gave the Polos a friendly recept
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