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See the fact file below for more information on Marco Polo or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
The Life, Travels, and Legacy of Marco Polo:
- Marco Polo was born in Venice, Italy, around 1254. Venice was then the central of commerce in the Mediterranean and his father, Niccolo Polo, was a wealthy merchant.
- When he was six years old, his father and uncle embarked on their first travel to China, then known as Cathay. He was raised by his aunt after the death of his mother. Marco Polo received education related to theology, trade, and shipping.
- His father returned to Venice when he was 15 years old.
- At the age of 17, Marco Polo traveled to Asia with his father and uncle Maffeo. They crossed 15,000 miles, traversing Persia, China, Japan and India.
- The Polos traveled the western shores of the Caspian Sea until they made their way to the Persian Gulf. They passed through the Gobi Desert and, after three years of journey, they arrived at Shang-Tu, the original summer residence of the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan.
- Marco Polo’s father and uncle became friends with Kublai Khan during their stay in Bolghar. Kublai Khan was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire.
- Marco Polo was loved by the emperor and asked him to serve at the Khan’s court. He vividly described his gratifying experiences in Cambaluc, Khan’s new summer residence (now Beijing) and official travels to Burma and India. Polo even recounted that it was the greatest palace he ever saw.
- Specifically, he was amazed with China’s (Mongol Empire) complex social structure and power. Iron manufacture and salt production gave enormous wealth to the empire. In terms of transportation, canals were developed to connect the cities.
- Paper money, porcelain bowls, and silk garments were all remarkable objects of China.
- In 1277, Kublai Khan appointed Marco Polo as an official of the Privy Council and after three years he became the tax inspector in Yanzhou.
- In 1295, the Polos decided to return home because Kublai Khan was already in his 70s and was seriously ill. Their last mission was to escort the Mongolian princess, Kokachin, to Persia.
- During their homecoming, Venice was at war with Genoa. Marco Polo commanded a galley and was later captured at the Battle of Curzola. While in prison, he told his stories to Rustichello of Pisa, a writer and co-inmate. Rustichello documented every detail in the book called The Description of the World also known as The Travels of Marco Polo.
- In 1299, after a year of imprisonment, Marco Polo returned to Venice, got married to a merchant’s daughter, and had 3 children.
- Around 1300, Il Milione was published. It was divided into four volumes. Volume I depicted the territories in Central and West Asia. The second volume described China and the emperor’s court. The coastal regions of India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Africa were recounted in volume III. Lastly, the wars of the Mongol Empire against territories up north were stated in volume IV.
- His book became very popular and was translated into several languages during the middle ages because Europeans had little knowledge about the Far East.
- Centuries after his death, explorers such as Henry the Navigator and Christopher Columbus were inspired by Marco Polo’s accounts. Columbus set sail to find new routes to the Orient.
- The Polos were credited with trying to transport goods from Venice to China through the Silk Road. The Silk Road was the trading route connecting cities from Eastern Europe to China. The route got its name from silk cloth, which was the major export from China.
Marco Polo’s Death and Controversy
- Despite Marco Polo’s popularity, his accounts became controversial because he never mentioned stories about the Great Wall of China and the Chinese practice of women foot binding, drinking tea, and writing in calligraphy. In addition, there were no accounts about Marco Polo’s visit in the Annals of the Empire known as Yuan Shih
- Some historians speculate that much of Marco Polo’s accounts were fabricated by him. They believe that it was a product of Polo’s imagination and considered tales.
- During the 18th and 19th centuries, travelers confirmed Polo’s accounts as they became an important resource for Chinese historians as they traced back the events during the siege of Xiangyang and attempted conquest of Japan.
- On his deathbed, he remarked “I have only told the half of what I saw”. On January 8, 1324, Marco Polo died in Venice, Italy, and is said to be buried at the Church of San Lorenzo.
Marco Polo Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Marco Polo worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about Marco Polo who was a Venetian adventurer and merchant who traveled West and Central Asia from 1271 to 1295.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- Marco Polo Facts
- Marco Il Milione
- Travels of Marco Polo
- Marco Polo’s Log
- Flags and Countries
- Polo’s Travelogue
- KKK: Know Kublai Khan
- In or Out
- Pin Marco Polo!
- Adventurer’s Nook
- Real or Not Real?
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Link will appear as Marco Polo Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 18, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.