Jewish merchant adventurers who lived in the south of France and northern Spain travelled to China in the 9th and 10th centuries


Victor Sharpe image

By —— Bio and Archives August 1, 2011

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imageAs a youth, I was fascinated to read about the travels of Marco Polo who, in 1275, had journeyed from his home in Italy to distant China.

That was no mean feat in the thirteenth century, even though Alexander the Great had taken his Greek army as far as the Punjab in India, fighting all the way, some sixteen hundred years earlier.

Other European travelers to distant lands included Giovani di Piano Caprini, a Papal legate, who in 1245 had reached Karakorum, near the River Orkhon in what is today central Mongolia. And Guillaume de Rubrouck arrived at the same city in 1253. Karakorum had once been the residence of Genghis Khan.

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