Teaching Students About Marco Polo’s Accomplishments

Marco Polo is one of the most celebrated and iconic figures of the medieval era. Born in Venice, Italy in 1254, he was a trader and explorer who is best known for his travels to China and the East Asia.

Teaching students about Marco Polo’s accomplishments is essential as it broadens their perspective on history and helps them learn about different cultures, religions, customs, and traditions. Here are some of his major accomplishments that should be included in a classroom lesson:

1. Journey to China

Marco Polo’s most significant and famous accomplishment was his journey to Cathay (China) from Europe through the Silk Road. Polo set out on his journey with his father, Niccolò, and uncle, Maffeo, in 1271, at the age of seventeen. The journey took them three and a half years, and he spent 24 years in China, where he acquired vast knowledge about various cultures and languages.

2. Book of Marvels

In 1299 after a series of adventures and expeditions, Marco wrote a book about his travels, known as The Book of Marvels. The book is a first-hand account of his journey, describing the geography, customs, religions, and political systems of the various regions he explored. Through his writings, we get insights into the daily lives of people from different parts of the world during the medieval period.

3. Contributions to Geography

Marco Polo’s extensive travels gave rise to significant advances in geographic understanding and allowed for the maps of the era to become more accurate. In his writings, he included descriptions of places that had previously been unknown in Europe, such as Japan, Tibet, and India.

4. Achieving Global Fame

Marco Polo’s travels and exotic experiences made him famous throughout Eurasia. His descriptive accounts of the unknown lands he had traveled to captured the imagination of those who heard or read his work. The book inspired many other adventurers, including the famous expeditions of Christopher Colombus and Vasco da Gama, and has since become a classic of travel literature.

5. Trade Advancements

Marco Polo’s explorations had significant ramifications on trade and commerce. His reports of the riches he witnessed in China led to an increase in European demand for Chinese goods such as silk and porcelain, and it opened up new trade routes across Asia, and contributed to the formation of the globalized world that we know today.


Teaching students about Marco Polo’s accomplishments is crucial in broadening their knowledge and awareness of different cultures and traditions in world history. His remarkable and adventurous journey provides a unique window into a time when travel was rare, and knowledge of other lands was scarce. Students can draw inspiration from Marco Polo’s resilience and self-determination to explore the world and discover new cultures. It is a truly remarkable story that can inspire the young minds of today.  

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