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Marco Polo Discuss The Various Ways In Which European Man Has Benefited From Marco Polo's Travels?

993 words - 4 pages

Marco Polo is probably the most widely known European traveller in the Far East, having travelled many thousands of kilometres during his 24 years of travelling throughout China, Mongolia and India. However it was not only the distance of his travels that made them unique, it was also the time that he spent in China, and the vast details that he made of his voyages, and it was for this reason that European man learnt so much about the Far East, and gained so many benefits. The benefits can be divided into three categories: physical benefits, the knowledge of Asia and the new inquisitiveness for the world around them.The physical benefits gained from Marco Polo's adventures to China are much less than many people believe. It is true that Marco Polo described many objects and systems unknown to Europeans, but widely used in Chinese culture. Some of these are postal systems, asbestos, paper money and coal, which were commonly used in China and were very important and useful to the Chinese people. Marco Polo also brought back many things from the East, especially jewels, because they were easiest to carry. According to legend, Marco Polo is also believed to have introduced such substances such as ice cream and pasta, however these claims are probably myths, and would have had little impact upon Europeans anyway. Marco Polo was also the precursor of the European discovery of many Chinese inventions, such as papermaking, printing and the compass, and he paved the way for the European use of these important systems.Although Marco Polo wrote a highly detailed account of his adventures throughout the Far East, the many of the physical systems and objects that he talked about had very little impact on Europe for a few reasons. Firstly the Europeans didn't believe that many of the objects described were practical, and that Marco Polo was just making them up. Secondly the European Upper Class didn't want to believe that there was such a sophisticated and technologically advanced civilisation in the world, and a civilisation with a much higher standard of living.The physical benefits of Marco Polo's expedition are well documented, but the knowledge of Asia is much less known, even though it was of much greater benefit to European man. Marco Polo's extremely detailed writings on the geography of China showed much detail about the landforms and the coastline of Far East Asia. Many famous mapmakers used this information when making their maps. The Catalan World Map, which was drawn up and published in 1375, used much of the information in Marco Polo's books in order to gain an idea of the coastline of China, Southeast Asia and India. As Marco Polo specialised as a merchant, and travelled to China for economic purposes, much of the writings in his travelogue are about economic matters, and this was very important to the European businessmen, because for the time that while the land route over Asia was open, it gave them much...

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