Last Updated 12/9/2007

Overland trade grew right along with sea trade.
Italian towns sent goods over the Alps.
Flanders and Italy were connected.
Other trade routes spread over Europe.
The first merchants were adventurers.
For protection they traveled in armed groups.
To move their goods they used open wagons pulled by horses.

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Marco Polo 1254-1324  
Marco Polo is famous for his travels through Asia.
He was one of the first Europeans to travel into Mongolia and China.
He became famous for his book that told the story of his travels along the Silk Road to China.

Early Life

1254, Marco Polo was born in Venice, Italy.

Journey to China
In 1271, when he was 17 years old, he traveled to Asia with his father and uncle.
On this journey, he became a favorite of Kublai Khan, the Mongol Emperor.
He roamed through Mongolia and China for 17 years.
He traveled farther into China than any European had gone before.
Finally, he took a ride to Persia and then back home.
In all, he was gone for 24 years!

Back Home
In 1295, he returned to Venice.
He became a popular storyteller.
People went to his home to hear his stories of his travels in the Far East.

Marco Writes a Book
In 1298, there was a conflict between Venice and Genoa.
Polo was captured by the Genoese and imprisoned by them.
While in jail, Marco dictated the story of his travels to a writer who published the book, The Travels of Marco Polo.
The book helped to make Europeans interested in trading with China and the Far East.
That led to the explorations of Columbus and others who were searching for a quicker way to sail to China and India.

Death of Marco Polo
Marco Polo died in 1324.


The Growth of Towns

Greenblatt, Miriam, and Lemmo, Peter. Human Heritage A World History. Columbus, Ohio: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

"Marco Polo." Explorers of the Millenium. 9 Dec. 2007.