Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer and merchant who traveled extensively in Asia and recorded his experiences in a book. He was brought to China as a teenager by his father and uncle in 1269, and he was pressed into service in the court of Kublai Khan. He returned 24 years later and was imprisoned in Genoa, where he dictated his adventures to a cellmate.Know More
At the time of his journey, most Europeans had very little idea of what Central and East Asia were like, which is one reason his tale proved so popular. Collected as "Book of the Marvels of the World" and later as "The Travels of Marco Polo," the story captivated Europe during the age of exploration. Christopher Columbus kept a copy of the book during his journeys and made notes in the margins, comparing his experiences to those in the text.
It is unknown how much of Marco Polo's account of his journey is truthful, and how much was made up or exaggerated in the telling. The book contains descriptions of people and events that were certainly fabricated, such as races of humans with long tails and cannibalistic tendencies. He also neglects to mention important facets of Chinese culture such as the Great Wall and chopsticks, leading some scholars to suggest that he may not have traveled to China at all.Learn More
Not much is known about Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, but it is known that he was born in Spain in 1494, during the age of exploration. Just two years before Pineda was born, Christopher Columbus had discovered a new world to be combed through.Full Answer >
The Columbian Exchange took place as a result of the European colonization of the Americas. The transfer of culture and biology between the Old and New World that characterizes the exchange began when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean Islands in 1492.Full Answer >
The Treaty of Tordesillas gave Spain territorial rights to most of North and South America. The treaty settled a dispute between Spain and Portugal over the control of the land discovered by Christopher Columbus.Full Answer >
Pedro Alvares Cabral was an explorer most famous as the first European to see Brazil. Cabral saw the coast of Brazil on April 22, 1500, and claimed the land for Portugal. He explored the coast for 12 days, landing just north of what is now Rio de Janeiro.Full Answer >