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Marco Polo is considered by most to be the most important link between Europe and China in the 13th century His accounts of the Eastern world had an immense impact on Western thinking and life in Europe Marco Polo was born in 1254 to a noble family in Venice which was at that time an independent city-state in northern Italy Marco had a typical education of a young man of his time1 At age 15 he had already studied many of the classical authors and understood the Bible and theology of the Church He also had a good knowledge of French and Italian language From his later history we find out about his interest in natural resources the ways of the people and many strange and interesting plants and animals Because he came from a family of traders everything he learned he related to the possibility of commerce2 By the time Marco was 15 his father and uncle who were both merchants had already traveled all the way to Eastern Asia The two men had made contact with many peoples including the Persians and the Tartars and Mongols They knew of all the popular trading routes through Asia and they even had established a trading post of their own3 Throughout the land they were known as men who were signally noble wise and provident4 Since this first voyage was a success they planned to embark on a second expedition on which they decided to along young Marco On the elders initial journey Kublai Khan the great ruler of China gave the men special letters that were delivered to the Roman Pontiff On this journey the Pope gave the adventurers letters in response to the Great Khans messages5 With these letters the men set out on their voyage to China Their course took them through Armenia where Marco noted the wonderful hand woven rugs and textiles They
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