This is the essay for the 12th week of the 7th Grade Ron Paul Curriculum. It’s about Marco Polo.
In this blog post, I shall be looking at Marco Polo’s life and what his legacy was.
Marco Polo was born in 1254 He was not the first European to visit, but he was the first to write about his experience in detail. Several people, like the Italian Giovanni da Pian del Carpini, William of Rubruck and even Marco’s father and uncle made it to China before Marco did. This is how it all started.
Marco’s father, Niccilo and Marco’s uncle Maffeo were merchants who left to trade their goods to a city named Surai in 1254 a few months before Marco Polo was born. After they were done trading the Polos had to take a different route home than usual, because of war. When they were heading home the Polo’s were captured and held captive for three years. They were rescued by Kublai Khan’s soldiers and brought to China. Kublai Khan invited them kindly and was interested in Christian traditions. Kublai Khan told the Polo’s to return to Europe and ask the pope for 100 monks and holy oil to anoint himself.
When the Polo’s returned in 1269 they had been gone 15 years. By that time Marco was 15 years old and met his father for the first time. Marco was being raised by his aunt and another uncle because his mother had died when his father and uncle were gone. When Marco’s father and uncle asked the pope for Kublai’s request the pope was only able to give 2 Christian monks instead of the 100 but was able to give them the holy oil. They also gathered letters and treasurers to give to Kublai Khan. After two years Marco Polo, his father, and uncle were able to head back to China with the monks. Halfway the journey the monks turned backed because they were too scared. When Marco Polo arrived in China he was greeted just as kindly as his father and uncle. Kublai wasn’t mad that he wasn’t able to receive any monks and kindly accepted the holy oil from the Polos.
Marco Polo traveled through the middle east but spent most of his time traveling in Mongolia and China. He was fascinated by a lot of things he saw. Marco was most fascinated by things that didn’t exist in Europe during that time, like paper money and coal. Asian animals were new to Marco Polo and thought some of them were mythical creatures. He thought that an Asian rhinoceros was a unicorn. During Marco’s time in Asia, he learned three new languages. The languages he learned were Mongolian, Persian and Turkish. Kublai Khan liked Marco so much he appointed him as a member of the privy council in 1277. At some time during Marcos stay in Asia his father, uncle and Marco himself got scared that Kublai might die or be overthrown and that the new Khan wouldn’t let them leave Asia. So they asked Kublai Khan if they could leave Asia. At first, he refused the request. When a Persian prince came to Kublai Khan to ask him if he could marry his daughter. After this he allowed the Polos to escort the prince and the princess to Persia. During the boat journey, 18 of the original 600 survived the journey. The polos survived and so did the Mongolian princess, but the prince died. Nobody knows why the boat journey was so horrific and why so many people died. When the princess arrived in Persia she married somebody, else and celebrated their wedding. After the wedding, the Polos returned to Venice. On their way home some of their riches were stolen.
When the Polos returned to Venice they had been gone for 24 years. They spent 17 of those years in China. When the Polos returned to Venice they couldn’t speak Italian as well as they used to. Nobody recognized them and thought they were strangers. Shortly after they returned to Venice war broke out with a city named Genoa. Marco became a galley ship captain, because of this. During the war, he was captured in the Battle of Curzola in 1298. He was a prisoner for a year until he was released. During his time in prison, he told about his travels in Asia to a fellow prisoner named, Rustichello of Pisa who wrote the book The Travels of Marco Polo. The book was published when Marco got out of prison after the war ended. It became an instant bestseller and the book earned the nickname “The Million Lies” because a lot of people thought it was fake, because of the weird things it described.
Later in his life, he, became a wealthy merchant and married Donata Badoer. He had three daughters. Fantina Polo being the oldest, Moreta Polo and Belella Polo being around the same age. Marco became ill in 1323 staying in his bed and he died in 1324. After Marco came back from prison he never left Venice again.
Marco influenced other explorers, like Christopher Columbus to explore the world.