Xunantunich is a pre-classic to classic Maya city that once may have had as many as 200,000 residents. As with many Mayan sites, the ancient name of this city is unknown and the name Xunantunich is a modern name given to the site in 1892 during some of the first excavations. Restoration of the site began in 1991.

The city-state achieved great power in the late Classic Maya period and due to its location on top of a hill (making the city very defensible) the city remained powerful nearly a century later than many other contemporary Mayan cities. The city was finally abandoned in 890 AD.