Exploration and Settlement

Marco Polo

Are the adventures of Marco Polo true?

Most of the tales are accepted as true and accurate by modern scholars. It is only those accounts that deal with places where it is not known that Marco Polo traveled, such as Africa, that are seen as legend rather than fact.

Upon his return to Venice in 1295, Marco Polo (1254–1324) took up the family occupation and worked as a merchant. Three years later, he was on board a ship that was captured by a rival Genoese ship. He was subsequently imprisoned in the port city of Genoa, where he met a writer named Rustichello (or Rusticiano), from the Italian city of Pisa. Polo recounted his stories to Rustichello, who wrote them down and published them as the Divisament dou monde (Description of the World). The book was an immediate popular success and became one of the most important sources of Western knowledge of the East. Readers today know the stories as The Travels of Marco Polo.


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