We do not know how Marco Polo’s uncle and father went from Bukhārā to the court of Qubilai; it must have been for Chinese Turkestān. As for Marco Polo himself, if he was from 1275 to 1292 in the service of the Great Khān and if he gives us about the Mongols, their administrative organization, their history, their customs, news of the highest value, he has not personally traveled in real Mongolia. When he speaks of Qaraqorum, it is hearsay. However, he was in contact with a Mongolian tribe, that of the Christians Örnggüt, who then had as their head Prince George, of which Mareo Polo is a descendant of Prete Gianni. This is the same Prince George who a few years later was to be brought back to the Roman confession by the archbishop of Beijing, Giovanni da Montecorvino.
After the beginning of the century. XIV, Mongolia soon closes itself to the Europeans, and it is necessary to reach modern times for a recovery of knowledge. Then the Russians enter into relations with the Western Mongols, or Kalmyks. The reports had begun in 1604: missions were sent from Tobolsk in 1616 and 1617. In 1618, the Cossack Ivan Petlin joined in Tobolsk with repatriated Kalmyk ambassadors, then continued with others through Mongolia and arrived in Peking; he was back in Tobolsk the following year. The same route followed by Fedor Baikov who also arrived in Beijing, through Kökö-Khoto (cin. Kui-hua), in 1656; his travel story is quite detailed, but many names have yet to be identified. The mission of Nicola Spathar Milescu (1675-1677) took the opposite route to Siberia and Manchuria. Cartography had long remained based on Marco Polo’s data. The first card that offered a new toponymy is the so-called Godunov card of 1667. Finally, in 1687, the great card of the burgomaster of Amsterdam Witsen appears, who also elaborates all the materials that he could obtain from Russia in his fundamental work Noord en Oost Tartarye (1692 and 1705). In 1722-1724 the artillery captain Giovanni Unkovskij was sent on a mission to the Hungtaigi Tsewang-Rabdan (see Mongoli) and his report was published in 1887. On the other hand, a number of Swedish officers taken prisoner in Poltava (1709) had been relegated to Siberia. One of them, Renat, captured by the Kalmyks, returned to Sweden in 1734, bringing two cards of Kalmyk origin, found and published only today. The Jesuits of China, for their part, had not remained inactive. Fr Gerbillon had accompanied K’ang-hi to Mongolia. At the beginning of the century XVIII, his brothers drew up the map of a part of eastern Mongolia by order of K’ang-hi, completing it for western Mongolia with indigenous itineraries. The Jesuit mission sent by K’ien-long in 1755-1756 worked on the northern slope of the T’ien-shan and in the Ili. The true cartography of Outer Mongolia was made only by travelers of the second half of the century. XIX. However, there are still many documents coming from the Jesuits, of great interest for Mongolian history and geography, and still unpublished, especially the memory De bello Camhi imperatoris contra Tartaros Erutanes feliciter confecto year 1697 by his father Antoine Thomas, unfortunately without paper.
According to andyeducation, the most recent phase of exploration of the country begins with Prževalsky who in three trips (1870-73, 1876-77 and 1883-85) explored the Gobi, the Kuku-nōr, sketched the hydrography of the Tarim basin and discovered (1884) the sources of the Hwang-ho, which no European, after Odorico da Pordenone, had ever touched. Almost simultaneously, the Fritsche gave, with astronomical observations, a solid basis for the topography of eastern Mongolia, which he crossed several times in 1873-74 and in 1877.
In 1876-77 and 1879, two voyages of the Potjanin provided a more precise knowledge of the Altai range and the survey of many lakes (Ubsa-nōr, Kirghis-nōr, Dzerem-nōr, etc.). In 1878-79 the Pevcov surveyed the Kobdo-Khalgan road (2500 km.) And that from Urga to the fcontiera (1700 km.) Making numerous oro-hydrographic and geognostic observations, as well as botanical and zoological collections. The orography was finally completed in 1889-90 by the brothers Mongolia and G. Grum-Gržimailo.
Starting from 1890 the expeditions intensified: in 1891 W. Rockhill discovers the Tosu-nōr; in 1892 Radlov and Klements explore the Orkhon valley in northern Mongolia; in 1893 the country of the Ordos was the object of reconnaissance by V. Obručev; over the next two years the Sven Hedin expedition rectified many of the earlier observations and made important archaeological discoveries; in 1895 Chaffanjon explores the Great Khingan and the Altai. At the end of the century. XIX Kozlov begins a series of explorations in the Altai region, then, returning to Mongolia (1907), he visits the Kuku-nōr region and the upper reaches of the Hwang-ho with remarkable results in the field of geology, botany and zoology. The Mongolia of N. and NO. was traveled in 1910-1911 by D. Carruthers, who made a systematic exploration of the upper Jenissei basin, still little known. The World War marked a halt in explorations, which were resumed after the war. In 1919 there is the great expedition, organized by the American Museum of Natural History and directed by R. Chapman Andrews, which crosses the territory between the Altai and Kalgan. This expedition gave very remarkable results as well as in the geographical field, in the knowledge of the geological history of the region, of the variations of the climate, of paleoethnology and paleontology.