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Famous Explorers

Rochel Burstyn

There was a time when people didn’t know if and where life existed outside their little communities. Some curious people said, “I wonder what’s out there.…” and they ventured out into the great unknown, sometimes meeting success, sometimes not.… Some of their brave attempts literally changed the world. Meet some world famous explorers and hear about their adventures.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Marco Polo (1254-1324)

The water game you may be familiar with was named after Marco Polo, one of the world’s greatest and earliest travelers. Marco was an Italian 17-year-old merchant when he set off on a journey to the East with his uncle and father. He didn’t return home for 24 years! He explored what is nowTurkey,Iran,Afghanistan, and many areas inChina. He filled notebooks with facts about the people in each region and their way of life. His book was the first European record of porcelain, coal, gunpowder, printing, paper money, and silk.

By the time Marco returned toItaly, the country was in the midst of a naval war withGenoa, so he joined the navy. He was captured and thrown into prison. While he was imprisoned, he dictated his adventure stories to a cell mate. (If not for his cellmate, who knows if we’d have heard of him?) He was released from jail in 1299 with the manuscript that would make him famous. Since no one could prove or disprove his fascinating adventures, he was accused by many of making things up. On his deathbed, he said, “I did not tell half of what I saw … for I knew I would not be believed.”


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