A new study shows that Marco Polo did make it to China

A new study shows that Marco Polo did make it to China

An in-depth study of Chinese sources carried out by the University of Tübingen (Germany), dispels doubts as to whether the explorer Marco Polo actually reached China. It has been claimed that Marco Polo In fact, he did not reach China, but rather elaborated his information through what the merchants told him and what he read in his trips to the Black Sea, Constantinople and Persia.

But the explorer was in China. At least, that's what the book reveals "Currencies, Salts and Revenues”Published by the professor of Chinese studies at the University of Tübingen, Hans Ulrich Vogel. In your writing, puts an end to those rumors by taking a detailed look at all the arguments for and against.

Further, complements it with tests found in relevant literature from China, Japan, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. The result is devastating: aside from some well-known problems with texts by Marco Polo, all of them are argued by a large number of testimonials about China that contain unique information.

Doubts about the presence of Marco Polo in China began to arise in the mid-18th century. Skeptics point out that Marco Polo did not mention the Big Wall. But studies, both eastern and western, explain that the Great Wall is the product of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and that the previous defensive barriers had long since been dissolved and did not resemble the famous construction in size or relevance. China.

Another argument that usually appears in the texts that doubt the veracity of Marco Polo's documents is that neither Marco, nor his father, nor his uncle appear in any Chinese document. But this assertion overestimates the value of the Chinese records that do not even record the voyage of Giovanni de Marignolli (1290-1357) as Pope's envoy. De Marignolli made that trip with 32 other men and nothing is mentioned, only the tribute of a “heavenly horse" of the "kingdom of the Franks”, without even mentioning the name of the Pope who sent it.

Professor Vogel's research goes to the point of analyze word for word Marco Polo's descriptions of coins, salt production and the income from the salt monopoly. From these in-depth inquiries it is concluded that no Western, Arab or Persian observer has ever reported the situation in China in such detail and precision.

The Venetian explorer is the only one who accurately describes how paper was made for banknotes. It explained the complicated process of extracting it from the bark of the mulberry tree and not only describes the shape and size of the paper, but also the use of stamps and various denominations for banknotes.

He is also the only one to report that these currencies are not in circulation throughout China and that they are only available in the north and in the regions near Yangtze. This information has been contrasted by Chinese sources and by archaeological samples that were translated long after the death of Marco Polo, so the explorer could not have read it in his time, not knowing Chinese.

The description of salt production is also very accurate and unique. Make a list of salt production centers and the administrations that manage them. For Vogel, Marco Polo's writings on the value of salt and how it was produced show that “I knew what I was talking about”.

The Venetian Explorer son an assessment of how much gold the salt that was produced was worth. Centuries later, in the literature that has been written on the same subject ("Monies, Markets and Finance in China and East Asia, 1500-1900", DFG Research Training Group 596) and, after analyzing these texts, the teacher Vogel has concluded that Marco Polo was indeed in China, since the values ​​coincide with high precision.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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