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The Adventures of Marco Polo

by Ren Peterken

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The Adventures
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of
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Marco Polo
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By Ren Peterken
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Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer and merchant born in Venice, Italy. He was born in 1254 and was 17 when he first began his traveling journey. He spent 24 years abroad, 17 of those being in China and 7 being imprisoned during a naval battle. Polo set out on his first journey with his father and uncle to China in 1271 and became an ambassador for Kublai Khan, China's leader at the time.
Marco Polo began his voyage to China in 1271 with his father and uncle. They sailed the Mediterranean Sea and over the land through Persia, the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, the Silk Road, and then finally to China. Polo's trip to China took about three and a half years until they finally reached their destination. Upon meeting Kublai Khan, the most powerful ruler of their day, Marco's father offered him up as a servant. Because Marco Polo worked for Kublai Khan, he was permitted to travel freely throughout the Mongol Empire. During his stay, Marco learned several new languages and mastered four written alphabets.
After more than sixteen years in China, the Polo family requested to return home to Venice. They were allowed to leave as long as they escorted Cogatin, a Mongolian princess, to the west. On their way home after delivering the princess, Marco Polo was captured and imprisoned in Genoa but was later released in 1299. Marco had many different purposes for his traveling, such as to sell and trade goods, obtain riches, establish communications with other eastern cultures, and more.
Marco Polo had a great impact on Europe. He brought back the idea of paper money and described coal, eyeglasses, and China's complex postal system to those who didn't already know about it. His book, The Travels of Marco Polo, inspired other famous explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, to start their own journeys.
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