Vasco da Gama's first voyage was paid for and outfitted by the royal Portuguese treasury under King Manuel I. The Portuguese royal family's practice of funding voyages of exploration had been well-established earlier in the 15th century by Prince Henry the Navigator. By the time Vasco da Gama came of age in the 1480s, King John II was continuing this tradition. The king was striving to build up the wealth of his country through trade. In particular, King John wanted to lessen his dependence on taxes collected by his nobles. To do this, he quickly expanded the country's role in the gold and slave trade. What he needed most was trade routes to India that did not rely on the slow and expensive overland journeys of Italian merchants. When he died in 1495, his successor, King Manuel I, continued the previous king's legacy of funding voyages and growing Portugal's imperial reach. To this end, King Manuel I funded da Gama's, as well as many other, voyages.