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The World Will Never Forget These Influential Travelers

Traveling connects people, cultures, countries, and societies and dissolves the barriers as high as Mount Everest and as deep as the Pacific Ocean. Today, we will talk about all-time travelers who traveled the world, strengthened the cross-border relationship, and contributed to the knowledge of their society regarding the culture, science, and geography of the places they visited. Continue reading…

Ibn Battuta, Moroccan Traveler

#1. Ibn Battuta (1304-1369)

Facts about his travel

  1. Ibn Battuta started his travel at the age of 20
  2. Ibn Battuta traveled extensively in Afro-Eurasia, largely in the lands of Dar al-Islam.
  3. He crossed the Himalayas to reach India, China, South-East Asia, Maldives, all the way back to Morocco
  4. He came to India in 1334 during the reign of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. He was appointed as a judge and was in practice for eight years
  5. He traveled a record 117,000 km (72,000 miles), more than any other explorer in pre-modern history.
  6. Over thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of southern Eurasia, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, China, and the Iberian Peninsula.

Book on Travel: A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, which he dictated during the late stage of his life. The book is popularly known as The Rihla.   

#2. Xuanzang or Hsuan-tsang (602-664)

Xuanzang, Chinese Traveler

The greatest Asian traveller of all time, Xuanzang was a Chinese Buddhist monk. The curiosity to find the origin of Buddhism inspired him to traveler.

Facts about his travel

  1. Xuanzang crossed the Himalayas through Khyber Pass and came to India to trace the root of Buddhism. This journey took around 17 years.
  2. He explored many stupas around Peshawar, notably the Kanishka stupa, built just southeast of Peshawar, by a former king of the city. In 1908, it was rediscovered by D.B. Spooner with the help of Xuanzang’s account.
  3. He left Peshawar and traveled northeast to the Swat Valley. Reaching Oḍḍiyāna, he found 1,400-year-old monasteries, that had previously supported 18,000 monks.
  4. Xuanzang advanced northward and reached the Buner Valley, before doubling back via Shahbaz Garhi to cross the Indus River at Hund.

Book on Travel: Great Tang Records on the Western Regions

#3. Marco Polo (1254-1324)

Marco Polo, Italian Traveler

Marco Polo was an Italian merchant, explorer, and writer who traveled through Asia along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295.

Facts about his travel

  1. He started his journey in the 1270s with his father and uncle.
  2. His traveling journey lasted 26 years.
  3. He first traveled to explore Asia via the route Persia, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and China. The path they took is now known as the Silk Route.
  4. Marco Polo settled in Beijing, from where he led expeditions to other parts of China, the then Burma and India. He sailed back to Italy after exploring Singapore, Sumatra, and India.

Book on travel: Livres des merveilles du monde or Book of the Marvels of the World

#4. Vasco Da Gama (1460-1524)

Vasco Da Gama, Portuguese Traveler

He was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His achievement favored colonization as the travel through sea route was easy and affordable.

Facts about his travel

  1. He reached Calicut (now Kozhikode) in Kerala in 1498. This was the most significant event in imperial history.
  2. The Portuguese explorer crossed the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean to reach ‘the East’.
  3. He was also the first man to sail across the Cape of Good Hope.
  4. His journey inspired many voyagers to take the sea route and explore the world.

Book on travel: Vasco da Gama: Round Africa to India, 1497–1498

#5. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

Christopher Columbus, Italian Traveler

Columbus was an Italian explorer who ventured out to discover India as Vasco Da Gama did, but he reached somewhere else.

Facts about his travel

  1. The Italian explorer navigated far west to find a better sea route to the eastern country, hoping to circle the world.
  2. But instead, he landed in the Bahamas. From then, Columbus paid repeated visits to the western land and found himself in Central and South America.
  3. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean several times and established prominent trade links between Europe and America.

Book on travel: Book of Privileges, Book of Prophecies

#6. Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512)

Amerigo Vespucci, Italian Merchant

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian merchant, explorer, and navigator. He adopted the citizenship of Castile in 1505.

Facts about his Travel

  1. The continent of America was named after this Spanish explorer Amerigo Vespucci
  2. He explored most parts of the eastern coastline of South America and realized that the continent is neither linked to Asia nor is as small as it was thought at that time.
  3. He undertook several journeys from Spain and Portugal and discovered the mouth of the Amazon.

Letter on travel: Account of His First Voyage 1497

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