Italian trader and traveler (1254-8 / 1/1324). Born in Curzola, Dalmatia (present-day Croatia), at the time Venetian province. At 17, he accompanies his father and uncle, both traders, on a trip to the Far East. It passes through Turkey, crosses the Gulf of Persia, Afghanistan (where it stays a year, curing malaria) and Pakistan, until it reaches the capital of the Mongol Empire in 1275.
He remains in China for 17 years, performing administrative and diplomatic duties in the court of Gengis Khan's sovereign Kublai Khan. The father and uncle probably perform technical duties, perhaps military advice. In 1295, the Polos offer to accompany a Mongol princess to Persia, and then return to Venice with riches and spices.
Three years later, Marco Polo is taken prisoner in a battle between Venetians and Genoese, traditional rivals. In prison in Genoa, he narrates the adventures in the East to the Tuscan writer Rustichello, who writes the Wonderland Book - The Description of the World. Marco Polo becomes famous. On leaving prison, he returns to Venice, where he stays to death. Over the centuries, the Wonderland Book It becomes a classic translated into countless languages.
The geographic information contained therein is used during the 15th and 16th century sea voyage era. In 1996, British synologist Frances Wood launches a book discussing the hypothesis that Pole never arrived in China.