Vasco de Gama's first voyage was in 1497 and it was commissioned, or sponsored, by the Portuguese king. The purpose of this voyage was to discover a maritime route to the East. With this voyage, the country of Portugal specifically wanted to find a new trade route directly to India. King Manuel, or King Emmanual depending on which language you use, took the throne of Portugal in 1495 and was directly responsible for paying Vasco de Gama's exploration. Also, as a result of this voyage, Vasco de Gama became the first person to sai ldirectly from Europe to India.