Book 3, Chapter 4
[The following text led to the discovery of America. These passages,
written by Marco Polo, motivated Christopher Columbus to find an alternative
route to the Indies. Going Eastward had become almost impossible since
the Middle East was occupied by Muslims who would not allow Christians
It is impossible to estimate the value of gold and other articles found in these islands. Their distance from the continent is so great, and the navigation so difficult, that vessels sailing there do not reap large profits; for they consume a whole year in the voyage.
We shall her treat no further of these countries and islands because of my not having visited them personally and their not being under the dominion of the Great Khan.