In 1532 the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured the Inca emperor Atahuallpa at the Peruvian highland of Cajamarca. Pizarro proceeded to hold his prisoner for eight months, while extracting history’s largest ransom in return for a promise to free him.
The ransom was enough gold to fill a room 22 feet long by 17 feet wide to a height of over 8 feet.
After the ransom was delivered, Pizarro reneged on his promise and executed Atahuallpa.
— Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond