The means by which Europeans gained access to spices was very costly because many of the spices they used had to be imported from various African and Asian countries. The rulers of many of these countries monopolized the spice trade and charged high prices because the demand was so great.
The spice trade is a very important part of European and Asian history. Christopher Columbus discovered America while trying to find a shorter route to India so the Spanish could import their spices for a cheaper price instead of paying a large amount for transport. Many of the spices used in Europe were transported on land from Africa or India, making the cost of transport and labor extremely high.