Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Polo Marco

Polo, Marco (1255-1323), the great traveller, was born in Venice shortly after his father and uncle had gone on a voyage to the East. They were away for many years, and visited the Tartar Emperor of China or Great Khan. He was interested in their stories of Europe, and in order to ingratiate himself with the Pope, of whose power he had heard, entrusted them with a mission to him, requesting that a hundred learned men might be sent to China to convert its people to Christianity. They returned to Italy after many years' absence, and found Marco grown up. Owing to internal dissensions, the Papal chair was vacant, and a long time elapsed before they were able to get the sanction of the Papacy. They returned to China with Marco, loaded with presents for the Khan, who gave them a royal reception. Marco Polo became a favourite with the Khan, who sent him on various embassies. At length they found an opportunity of returning to their native country. They were appointed to escort the Khan's granddaughter to Persia, where she was to marry a young prince, and promised to return; but the voyage proved so tedious that the prince was dead before they reached him. Feeling absolved from their promise by the death of the Khan, they went to Italy, where they arrived in 1 "'15, with the enormous wealth they had been given. In Venice they were regarded as wonders. Marco Polo was made commander of a galley in an expedition against the Genoese, and, being defeated, was imprisoned for a long time in Genoa. Here he wrote the marvellous story of his travels in the East, giving glowing descriptions of the magnificence of its potentates and of the people. He was liberated and returned to Venice, where he died in 1323. Many of his extraordinary statements were scoffed at in his time, but time has proved their truth. It was the reading of his Description of the World's Wonders which inspired Columbus to seek a new world. Polo's travels have often been edited and translated.