In 1518, Cortes with a force of roughly 600 men, in his search for the reputed vast amounts of gold and silver, aggressively occupied the Aztec Empire's palace. Repulsed, he returned in 10 months with 2,000 soldiers to wreak devastation and loot. The last Aztec Emperor was executed in 1525, ending the Aztec empire.
In 1530, Pizarro led a small band to war with an already smallpox ravaged Inca Empire. After the loss of their capital, Cuzco, Incan guerrillas held out until 1572.