(Handwritten notes by Christopher Columbus on Marco Polo’s diary. Source - File:ColombusNotesToMarcoPolo.jpg - Wikimedia Commons)
One of the earliest recorded travel journals was by the Venetian merchant and explorer, Marco Polo. His journal, Livre des merveilles du monde (Book of the Marvels of the World), documented his travels to Asia, and explained to Europeans the vast size and wealth of one of the unexplored corners of the planet.
This travelogue helped to inspire the likes of Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the United States, as well as other explorers - and provided important geographic detail that had been unavailable prior to Polo’s journal.