Let’s Study Explorers- Marco Polo Part 4
by Belinda Mooney
Eventually The Khan made Peking his capital city. While in Peking the Polo’s decided they wanted to return home. Maffeo and Nicolo were getting old and wanted to see Venice before they died. The Khan did not want them to return and at first refused. But three men froM Persia came to Peking seeking a Tartar princess to marry their king, King Argon. Kogatin was chosen. The men started to return home with her across land but were not able to due to some wars starting up between several of the Tartar princes. Marco offered to guide them. Permission was granted so the three Polo’s were on their way towards home. Twelve ships left China. They sailed along a new coast which had never been heard of in Europe, Indochina and the Malay Penisula. On the Island of Java and Sumatra Marco saw coconuts and Rhinoceros for the first time. They had to spend 5 months on the dangerous island of Sumatra while waiting for the Monsoons to pass.
Then they came to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) then to India. In India Marco was told many more tales about places such as Madagascar and Zanzibar. They also touched the coast of East Africa. He was told of the Abyssinian who believed in God. After two years of travel they reached Persia. The King had died so the Princess married his son.
Marco, Nicolo, and Maffeo finally arrived in Venice in 1295. Twenty-four years after they had left. At first no one believed Marco’s tales of wonder. The called him Marco Millioni or “Marco of the Million”. Eventually he put it down in book form while in prison during a civil war. Marco did marry and had three daughters.
Because of Marco’s book new maps were drawn. Asia was beginning to take a more accurate shape and others were encouraged to explore the great wonders he saw. Years later men would be surprised at how accurate his book was.
Mark where you think the Great Khan’s palace Xanadu was.
In Beijing Marco Polo saw Bengal Tigers for the first time. Add Beijing to your map and do an animal detective sheet on the Bengal Tiger.
The Islands of Sumatra and Java are part of Indonesia. Which is made up of islands and archipelagos. They are full of volcanoes also. Since they are near the equator they can grow things all year. Also remember they had to wait out the Monsoon season on Sumatra. Fill out a information sheet on these two islands. On Sumatra he saw his first monkey.
Add these two islands and Indonesia to your map.
Add these terms to your geography page: Archipelago–Island–Volcano–Monsoon–Equator (Mark this on your map also)
Find out which monkeys are native to Sumatra. Fill out ananimal detective sheet
Do an animal detective sheet on the Rhinoceros which Marco saw for the first time on Java.
The next place they visited was Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It is a tropical climate with Monsoons also. Here the Polos would have seen and gotten many of the precious and semi precious jewels. The jewels found here are sapphires, rubies , aquamarines, moonstones, topazes, garnets, amethysts, and zircons.
Add Ceylon to your map and fill out a country information sheet.
Make a notebook page for jewels. Draw and label each one and tell what is special about it.
From Ceylon they went to India. What fascinating things the would have seen there! The Himalayan mountains are in India. Also the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Marco and his father would have seen carvings made out of teak and other good woods. He may have seen crocodiles and cobras. He would have also seen many elephants here.
Mark India on your map.
Fill out a information sheet on India.
Carve something out of wood.
Do an animal detective sheet on the crocodile and the cobra and the Indian elephant.
Mark Marco Polo’s journey on you map.
Keep a journal for one week. Pretend you are describing you area do someone new.
India produces wonderful dyed and painted fabrics. Batik dye a tee shirt or cloth.
Add Madagascar and Zanzibar to your map. Write to the Embassy. Fill out sheets for them.
Put on your maps all the bodies of water Marco traveled on.