Marco Polo

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Marco Polo (1254 -- 1323)

Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant and explorer who, together with his father and uncle was among the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road all the way to China. They lived there for seventeen years; Marco then wrote a widely read book about his travels.

While most historians do not doubt that Marco Polo did indeed reach China, in recent times skepticism has been advanced as to whether Polo actually visited China or only retold information he had had from others. Among other omissions, his account fails to mention chopsticks, tea, foot-binding, or the Great Wall, and Chinese records of the time do not mention him, despite the fact that he claimed to have served as a special emissary to Kublai Khan.

Further Reading:

  • Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo Go to China?, Westview Press, 1995