Lesson 4: On the Road with Marco Polo: Crossing the Deserts of China
In the 13th century, a young Venetian named Marco Polo set out with his father and uncle on a great adventure. Following a series of trade routes, they traveled across the vast continent of Asia and became the first Europeans to visit the Chinese capital (modern Beijing). Marco so impressed the reigning emperor of China, Kublai Khan, that he was appointed to the imperial court. For the next 17 years, Marco was sent on missions to many parts of Kublai's sprawling empire. The Polos finally returned to Venice via the sea route. Marco later wrote a book about his experiences, which inspired new generations of explorers to travel to the exotic lands of the East.
Why did Marco Polo travel particular routes through the deserts of China?
How did the natural environment impact the routes used by Marco Polo?
How did Marco Polo transport goods through the Taklimakan and Gobi deserts?
Analyze the relationship between the topography of China and trade routes used by Marco Polo.
Evaluate the technological and cultural changes that emerged from Marco Polo's travels.