Marco Polo was one of the first and most famous Europeans to travel to Asia during the Middle Ages. He traveled farther than any of his predecessors during his 24-year journey along the Silk Road, reaching China and Mongolia, where he became a confidant of Kublai Khan.
The story of his journey is told in "Il Milione" ("The Million"), commonly called "The Travels of Marco Polo." Polo's adventures influenced European mapmakers and inspired Christopher Columbus.
Marco Polo was born around 1254 into a wealthy Venetian merchant family, though the actual date and location of his birth are unknown. His father, Niccolo, and his uncle Maffeo were successful jewel merchants who spent much of Marco’s childhood in Asia. Marco's mother died when he was young; therefore, young Marco was primarily raised by extended family.
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