What contribution to history did Marco Polo make?

Like what he brought to Italy and how things changed because of him.


The physical items that Marco Polo brought back to Italy were almost inconsequential. The important, intangible thing he brought was his first-hand account of his travels to an area which had virtually no contact with Europe and of which Europe was appallingly ignorant.

Imprisoned in a Genoese-Venetian war, Polo was imprisoned. He dictated his account of his travels to China and throughout Asia, and back to Italy, to a man who is variously described as his "cellmate," and a romance writer of the time. This scrivener added several anecdotes of his own and certain older tales of the peoples of the Orient, and published these in approximately 1300.

The book found immediate popularity, but this led to a great difficulty. This was more than a century before Guttenberg would develop movable type which would allow printers to create many versions of a book with the certainty that each one was identical to all other versions. In 1300, books had to be hand-copied, and many copyists were not fully literate. (Imagine a child of about 4, not yet knowing for to read, trying to copy a book. Skipping from line to line, when a word recurs, misspelling things, missing details. Compounded over the centuries before anyone tried to print the book, there is nothing that is agreed on as Polo's account as separate from romance and fantasy. As an illustration: the book is variously known as "The Travels of Marco Polo," "The Book of Wonders," "The Million," and "Description of the World."

While the versions of the "Travels" that circulated throughout Europe contained large amounts of pure fantasy, the core idea that the book brought home was that there was a spectacular civilization outside of Europe, which had tremendous wealth, and where people did things differently.

Culturally, this was a very influential book, one that was widely read, and from which stories were learned and retold through a great deal of European society. It also played a critical role in rousing a basic entreprenueurial interest in finding trade routes to the east. When the Ottoman Turks blocked teh land route across Asia, Europeans excited by the prospect of trading with the fabulous empires of Asia went searching for the only available alternative: a sea route. European sailors eventually learned that by sailing south around Africa, they could reach the lands of the east. About the same time. Christopher Columbus tried to reach China by sailing west.


Easy, he invented the swimming pool.


He brought spices, plants, animals from new worlds and they became a strong form of trade or money.


He brought pasta from China.

Since then its become traditional to think of pasta as Italian when it had its origins in the 'Far East'


He introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China with his book Il Milione.

Marco's quest, through Acre, into China and to the Mongol court.

Marco wrote of his extensive travels throughout Asia on behalf of the Khan, and their eventual return after 15,000 miles (24,140 km) and 24 years of adventures.

This pioneering journey inspired Columbus and others.

As for him introducing certain items to Europe, like pasta..... that's a myth.

But he DID introduce the Orient to Europe, which during that time might as well have been another planet considering how exotic it was to them.