The Life and Times of Marco Polo (Biography from Ancient Civilizations Series) by Susan Zannos, Susan Zannos
Marco Polo, the first European to travel to China and return to write about his adventures, was born in Venice in 1254. Marco's father had left on a journey to Asia before the boy was born. Marco did not see his father and uncle, Niccolo and Maffeo Polo, until fifteen years later. In 1271 the three Polos left Venice and headed for the court of Kublai Khan in eastern China. The journey took them more than three yearsthey arrived in 1275. Marco Polo became a favorite of the Great Khan, and was sent on important missions all over the Mongol Empire. Marco and his father and uncle served Kublai Khan for 17 years. When they returned to Venice in 1295, Marco became the captain of a merchant ship and was captured and imprisoned in Genoa. While in prison he and another prisoner who was a writer of romances wrote the story of Marco Polo's adventures.