Some believe Uxmal  was founded by Mayas from Guatemala’s Petén region in the 6th century. Others contend it dates back even further, perhaps to the Preclassic period. Unlike most of northern Yucatán, the Puuc region has good soils, allowing for greater population density than other areas.
Uxmal emerged as the dominant city-state between A.D. 850 and 900, when the Pyramid of the Magician , the Great Pyramid , and the Nunnery  were built, and is believed to have been the hub of a district of about 160 square kilometers (100 square miles) encompassing many sites, including the lesser sites in the area: Kabah , Sayil , Labná , and Xlapak .
However, in the mid-10th century, Uxmal was abruptly abandoned, probably after being defeated by armies from Chichén Itzá  and as part of a pan-Maya collapse around that time. During the Postclassic era, the Xiu clan based in the nearby town of Mani spuriously claimed to be descended from Uxmal’s rulers and occupied the ruins. All that said, however, relatively few stelae have been found at Uxmal, so less is known about the ruling dynasties here than at other major sites.
The Maya word Uxmal (oosh-MAHL) means “Thrice Built.” The name notwithstanding, it is believed that Uxmal was built five times, each time over top of the last. Puuc architecture is one of the major achievements of Mesoamerica, whose hallmarks include unadorned lower levels, heavily decorated upper friezes, boot-shaped vault stones, thin squares of limestone veneer, and rows of pseudo-columns.
The constant threat of drought also inspired the Mayas to adorn their structures with hundreds of stone masks and carvings representing the rain god, Chac, easily identified by his prominent hooked nose.
Unlike most Maya centers in Yucatán, Uxmal was not built around a cenote, since there are none in this arid part of the peninsula. Rainwater was collected in aguadas (natural holes in the ground) as well as in man-made chultunes (cisterns) built into the ground, sometimes right inside a house or under a patio.