Marco Polo in America

Most historian state that Christopher Columbus came to America in 1492, but new evidence, in the form of period parchments, may show that Marco Polo landed on the west coast nearly two centuries earlier.

In an article for Smithsonian Magazine, author Benjamin Olshin discusses the 14 parchments he studied for his book, Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps, which seem to indicate that the explorer may have landed in Alaska. “A number of the maps here are suggestive of knowledge of the farthest reaches of northeast Asia -- and perhaps beyond -- in a very early period, before the later, well-documented explorations by Europeans in that area,” said Olshin.