Marco Polo sailed on a Venetian vessel with his father Niccolo and his uncle Maffeo; details of the ship itself are unknown. The trio began their voyage from Venice to China, a journey that involved a bit of sailing but mostly by-foot endeavors.Continue Reading
The expedition to China from Venice began with the crossings of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Polo and his crew made their first stop in Acre, Israel, and from there continued on foot and possibly by camel, across the trade route known as the Silk Road. Marco's father and uncle, merchants who had spent significant time in the Middle East, had made ties with the Yuan Dynasty emperor, Khubilai Khan on previous journeys, and were enlisted by Khubilai to obtain various goods along the way.
Marco greatly fancied the Asian culture and customs; he learned to speak Mongolian and Chinese, which caught the eye of Khubilai Khan, who eventually requested Marco to become his confidant. By the end of their service, the Polos had spent roughly 23 years trekking across the Middle East and Asia, upon which they were granted permission by Khubilai to return to Venice in 1295. The three were escorted by a 14 boat fleet, leaving from modern day Quanzhou, China, in route toward Venice, Italy.Learn more about Exploration & Imperialism