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    Marco Polo, Travels to China  
Marco Polo was a Christian merchant from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò a...
 
    Osman I, Founder Ottoman Empire - 1299  
Osman I was the leader of the Ottoman Turks and the founder of the dynasty that established and ruled the Ottoman Empire. The state, while only a small principality (beylik) during Osman's lifetime, was named after him and would prevail as...
 
    Giotto, Italian Renaissance Painter  
Giotto was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages. He is generally considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Italian Renaissance. Giotto's masterwork is the decoration of the S...
 
    Mansa Musa I, Emperor of Mali Empire  
Musa I was the tenth Mansa, which translates as "King of Kings" or "Emperor", of the wealthy Mali Empire. At the time of Mansa Musa's rise to the throne, the Malian Empire consisted of territory formerly belonging to the Ghana Empire and Me...
 
    Petrarch, Italian Poet and Early Humanist  
Francesco Petrarca, commonly anglicized as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar and poet in Renaissance Italy, who was one of the earliest humanists. His rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited with initiating the 14th-century Renaiss...
 
    Ibn Battutah, Muslim Traveler  
Ibn Battuta, Muslim traveler from Tangier. No other medieval traveler is known to have journeyed so extensively. In 30 years (from c.1325) he made a series of journeys recorded in a dictated account. He traveled overland in North Africa and...
 
    Hafez, Persian Poet  
Hafez was a Persian poet who "laud[ed] the joys of love and wine [but] also targeted religious hypocrisy". His collected works are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are to be found in the homes of most people in Iran, who lea...
 
    John Wycliffe, Precursor of Reformation  
John Wycliffe was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century. Wycliffe atta...
 
    Tamerlane (Timur) the Great  
Timur meaning "iron" or Tamerlane in English, was a 14th-century conqueror of much of western and central Asia, founder of the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty (1370–1405) in Central Asia, and great great grandfather of Babur, the founder...
 
    Chaucer, Father of English Poetry  
Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to be buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. While he achieved fame during his...
 
    Margaret I of Denmark, Norway, Sweden  
Margaret I was queen consort of Norway and Sweden, omnipotent ruler of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and founder of the Kalmar Union, which united the Scandinavian countries for over a century. De facto a queen regnant, the laws of contempora...
 
    Zheng He, the Chinese Admiral  
Zheng He, formerly romanized as Cheng Ho, was a Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat, fleet admiral, and court eunuch during China's early Ming dynasty. He was originally born as Ma He in a Muslim family, later adopted the conferred surname...
 
    Jan van Eyck, Flemish Painter  
Jan van Eyck, the most famous and innovative Flemish painter of the 15th century. Van Eyck has been credited traditionally with the invention of painting in oils, and, although this is incorrect, there is no doubt that he perfected the tech...
 
    Prince Henry the Navigator  
Henry the Navigator was an infante of the Kingdom of Portugal and an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire. He was responsible for the early development of European exploration and maritime trade with other continents....
 
    Constantine XI, Last Byzantine Emperor  
Constantine XI Dragaš Palaiologos, was the last reigning Byzantine Emperor, reigning as a member of the Palaiologos dynasty from 1449 to his death in battle at the fall of Constantinople. Following his death, he became a legendary figure in...
 
       
 
         
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