Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

18 - QUESTION: Which famous explorer who sought to reach "the Indies" was influenced by Marco Polo's journey?

Answer:  Christopher Columbus.

Historians have noted that Christopher Columbus was so inspired by the journeys of the Venetian traveler Marco Polo's description of the Far East, that he desired to visit those lands for himself. It can therefore be said that the Silk Road inspired Columbus's voyages to the "New World" as there is evidence Columbus made handwritten annotations on a Latin edition of Marco Polo's book. In the 1480's, the Columbus brothers had developed a different plan to reach the spice rich Indies -- with a new route to the East by sailing west across the "Ocean Sea" (the Atlantic Ocean). In his quest for Asia, and to find an alternative to the Silk Road caravan routes, Christopher Columbus read widely about astronomy, geography, and history, including the travels of Marco Polo.

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