Niccolo de' Conti
Niccolò de' Conti was a Venetian merchant and explorer,who traveled to India and Southeast Asia, and possibly to Southern China, during the early 15th century. After the return of the Polos, there is no record of Italian traders returning from China until the return of Niccolò de' Conti by sea in 1439. Niccolò departed from Venice about 1419 and established himself in Damascus, Syria, where he studied Arabic. Over a period of 25 years, he traveled as a Muslim merchant to numerous places in Asia. His familiarity with the languages and cultures of the Islamic world allowed him to travel to many places, on board ships owned by Islamic merchants.