The primary problems both Cortez and Pizzaro faced were the small force which they commanded against much larger Indian forces and the fear of mutiny of their men. Cortez at one point, burned his ships to prevent his men from mutinying and returning to Cuba. Both were aided by outbreaks of small pox which devastated the people whom they conquered, and both managed to seize the respective Emperor which made subjection easier for them. Additionally, both were aided by other tribes who had been subjected to rule by the Aztec or Inca and deeply resented it. Finally, both were in search of gold and silver rather than glory.
Cortez managed to seize the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma II but freed him later Montezuma was killed by his own people when he proved unable to prevent the Spanish from advancing. Cortez own men were beaten back by superior Aztec forces; but regrouped and succeeded with the aid of thousands of forces comprised of other Indian groups. That together with an outbreak of smallpox destroyed any effective Aztec opposition, and made conquest almost a matter of course.
Pizzaro arrived at the Inca capital of Cuzco at a time when the Emperor, Atahualpa, had been engaged in a bitter civil war. He seized Atahualpa almost immediately when the latter came out to greet him and promised to release him when a large ransom in gold was paid. The ransom was paid, but Pizarro went back on his word and had the Emperor strangled. He also succeeded only with the help of local tribes people who hated the Inca and the additional aid of a smallpox epidemic which left the Inca forces seriously weakened.
Both were fanatically greedy in seizing gold where they could find it. Pizzaro's forces even raided the graves of dead Inca emperors in search of gold.
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