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(o͞oshmäl`, o͞oz–), ancient city, northern Yucatán peninsula, Mexico. A Late Classic period MayaMaya
, indigenous people of S Mexico and Central America, occupying an area comprising the Yucatán peninsula and much of the present state of Chiapas in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador, and extreme western Honduras.
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 center situated in the Puuc hills, Uxmal flourished between 600 and 900. It is one of the finest expressions of Maya architecture known as the Puuc style. The site has such impressive structures as the unique Pyramid of the Magician; the Nunnery, with elaborately decorated facades of stone mosaic friezes; and the Governor's Palace (320 ft/98 m long, 40 ft/12.2 m wide, and 26 ft/8.9 m high), with some 20,000 carved stone elements in its facade. The site was abandoned shortly after 950 but was reoccupied briefly in the 15th cent. by the Xiu, a Mexican group who soon abandoned the site after wresting power from the Cocom Itzá at Mayapán.


See studies in the Handbook of Middle American Indians, ed. by R. Wauchope (13 vol., 1964–73); M. P. Weaver, The Aztecs, Maya, and Their Predecessors (1972).



one of the cultural and political centers of the ancient Mayas; situated on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. The date of the founding of Uxmal and its earliest history are still unknown. In the late tenth century, Uxmal was captured by the Tutul-Xiu tribe, who were associated with the Toltecs. From the 13th through 15th centuries, Mayapán and Chichén-Itzá repeatedly conducted internecine wars for political dominion over the Yucatan. The exact chronology of these events is unclear because of contradictions in available sources, but Uxmal was probably destroyed by Mayapán’s forces early in the 13th century. The Tutul-Xiu moved their capital to the city of Mani. The wars ended with the fall of Mayapán in 1441.

The Uxmal ruins, which are divided into six groups, have been investigated many times since the 19th century by archaeologists of the United States and Mexico, including J. L. Stephens, W. Holmes, K. Ruppert, A. Ruz, J. Acosta, and C. Saenz. The buildings, which have been partially restored, include many important examples of monumental architecture. The Governor’s Palace, one of the most beautiful, is richly decorated with sculpture and a mosaic frieze consisting of 20,000 individual tiles. The Temple of the Magician surmounts a pyramid measuring 30 m in height. The Nunnery is a complex consisting of four buildings with an inner court and an arch on the southern side. Other buildings include the House of the Pigeons, the House of the Turtles, and the House of the Dwarf.


Kinzhalov, R. V. Iskusstvo drevnikh maiia. Leningrad, 1968.
Foncerrada de Molina, M. Uxmal: La ciudad del dios de la lluvia. Mexico, 1968.



an ancient ruined city in SE Mexico, in Yucat?n: capital of the later Maya empire
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