Marco Polo
Marco Polo (1254-9 January 1324) was a Venetian merchant traveller who was best known for his travels in Asia from 1271 to 1295. Polo, the son of the merchant Niccolo Polo and the nephew of merchant Maffeo Polo, joined his father and uncle on a series of adventures to Asia in 1271 at the age of seventeen, and he would travel as far as Peking in China, exploring the lands of the Mongol Empire. In 1275, the Polos arrived at the court of the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, presenting sacred oil and Papal letters to the Khan. They were treated well and were showered with goods, and they returned to Venice in 1295, converting their riches into gemstones. He was captured at the Battle of Curzola in 1298 after arming a merchant vessel to assist Venice during its war with the Republic of Genoa, and he dictated his famous book during his few months in prison. In 1300, The Travels of Marco Polo was released, and he became a wealthy merchant, married, and had three children before dying in 1324 at the age of 70.