Marco Polo (i/ /; Italian pronunciation: [ˈmarko ˈpɔːlo]; c.1254 – January 8–9, 1324) was an Italian merchant traveler from the Republic of Venice whose travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned the mercantile trade from his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, who traveled through Asia, and apparently met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had three children. He died in 1324, and was buried in San Lorenzo.
His pioneering journey inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers. There is a substantial literature based on his writings. Polo influenced European cartography, leading to the introduction of the Fra Mauro map.
Modern reconstruction of the Nine Base White Banners
Kublai Khan (/ /; Mongolian: Хубилай хаан, Xubilaĭ xaan; Middle Mongolian: Qubilai Qaγan, "King Qubilai"; September 23, 1215 – February 18, 1294), born Kublai (Mongolian: Хубилай, Xubilaĭ; Middle Mongolian: Qubilai; Chinese: 忽必烈; pinyin: Hūbìliè; also spelled Khubilai) and also known by the temple name Shizu (Chinese: 元世祖; pinyin: Yuán Shìzǔ; Wade–Giles: Yüan Shih-tsu), was the fifth Khagan (Great Khan) of the Ikh Mongol Uls (Mongol Empire), reigning from 1260 to 1294, and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China.
Kublai was the second son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki, and a grandson of Genghis Khan. He succeeded his older brother Möngke as Khagan in 1260, but had to defeat his younger brother Ariq Böke in a succession war lasting till 1264. This episode marked the beginning of disunity in the empire. Kublai's real power was limited to China and Mongolia, though as Khagan he still had influence in the Ilkhanate and, to a far lesser degree, in the Golden Horde. If one counts the Mongol Empire at that time as a whole, his realm reached from the Pacific to the Black Sea, from Siberia to modern day Afghanistan – one fifth of the world's inhabited land area.
The 2nd millennium was the thousand-year period that commenced on January 1, 1001 and ended on December 31, 2000. It encompassed the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Early Modern Age, the age of colonialism, industrialization, the rise of nation states, and the 20th century with the impact of science, widespread education, and universal health care and vaccinations in many nations. The centuries of expanding large-scale warfare with high-tech weaponry (of the World Wars and nuclear bombs) were offset by growing peace movements from the United Nations, the Peace Corps, religious campaigns warning against violence, plus doctors and health workers crossing borders to treat injuries and disease and the return of the Olympics as contest without combat.
Scientists prevailed in explaining intellectual freedom; humans took their first steps on the Moon during the 20th century; and new technology was developed by governments, industry, and academia across the world, with education shared by many international conferences and journals. The development of movable type, radio, television, and the Internet spread information worldwide, within minutes, in audio, video, and print-image format to educate, entertain, and alert billions of people by the end of the 20th century.
The Silk Road, or Silk Route, is a series of trade and cultural transmission routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East by linking traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from China to the Mediterranean Sea during various periods of time.
Extending 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometres), the Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade which was carried out along its length, and began during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The central Asian sections of the trade routes were expanded around 114 BC by the Han dynasty, largely through the missions and explorations of Zhang Qian, They took great interest in the safety of their products being traded, that they extended the Great Wall to as far as the Gate of Jade to ensure the protection of this trade route. but earlier trade routes across the continents already existed.
Niccolò (fl. 1252 - 1294) and Maffeo Polo (fl. 1252 - 1309) were the father and uncle respectively of Marco Polo, the Italian explorer. Before the birth of Marco, the two became merchants, and established trading posts in Constantinople, Sudak in the Crimea, and in a western part of the Mongol Empire. As a duo they reached modern-day China before temporarily returning to Europe to deliver a message to Pope Clement IV (later Pope Gregory X). Taking Niccolò's son Marco with them, the Polos then made another journey to the Orient, as recorded in Marco's book The Travels of Marco Polo.