The nation of Wakanda stands not only as the home to Black Panther but as a thriving country rich in advanced technology and success that had influenced nations worldwide. Isolated from the world, the people of Wakanda have flourished within the confines of their country, investing in the overall health and well-being of their own people.
Home to the rare vibranium mineral, Wakanda holds the monopoly on its availability and, as such, distributed it only to those focused on improving the world for good. Though only established in the 1960s, the influence of Wakanda has been intertwined with the history of many established heroes and has provided them with some of the most advanced weaponry ever created.
On the surface, Wakanda appears to be a nation rooted in the most advanced and futuristic technologies only. However, the people of this country have managed to meld both new technologies with the traditions and customs of their ancestors. Even the creation of Wakanda in Marvel Comics displayed strong ties to established African nations and societies in the real world. Throughout his partnerships with the Avengers and other superheroes over the years, Black Panther maintained the protection and growth of Wakanda as his number one priority.
From its mythical beginning to its debut on the big screen, here are the 16 Things You Didn't Know About Wakanda.
16 The Originators
Although the history of Wakanda seemed to originate with the native tribes, its first inhabitants were more mythical in nature. First introduced in Black Panther issue #167, these creatures, known as the Originators, included “the serpentine Simbi, the ape-like Vanyan, the arachnoid Anansi, and the insectoid Creeping Doom.”
Humans later traveled to the uninhabited land and encountered these strange creatures during their journey. Unfortunately, the peace between them broke when humans began abusing the natural resources of the area. Conflicts between the two species broke out, and they found themselves at war for the territory.
The humans, with the help of the Gods of Wakanda, finally defeated the Originators and banished them from the country. These humans would later form the early tribes and inhabitants of Wakanda years later.
15 Vibranium's demonic effects
The origins of vibranium in Wakanda dates back 10,000 years. A giant meteorite descended from the sky and crashed into the African nation. Bashenga, the strongest warriors of Wakanda at the time, led his people to investigate the crash.
Seeing the incident as a blessing from their gods, they began collecting the material to use for their weapons. However, its sound properties affected some of the tribesmen and turned them into demonic spirits. Determined to protect his people, Bashenga prayed to the Panther God for the strength to defeat these spirits.
Bestowed with the first “Black Panther” powers, he successfully beat the demons.
Through his bravery and strength, the tribes united and formed the nation of Wakanda. Bashenga served as the first official Black Panther title holder in Wakanda with the tribe’s future generations continuing the tradition.
14 Vibranium Enhanced Two Powerful Cults
The mineral vibranium became an invaluable resource to Wakanda due to its properties of sound and energy absorbing abilities. Not only did the resource help Wakanda become a wealthy nation but it also changed the aspects of the country and its inhabitants in more physical ways.
Upon landing in the area that would become the nation of Wakanda, the radiation that seeped from the mineral created the Heart-Shaped Herb. This herb would become part of the Black Panther Cult's tradition of the journey of the Black Panther.
The vibranium also helped in the creation of the White Gorilla cult.
Its radioactive properties developed a small group of albino White Apes. In turn, the people of the future White Gorilla Cult began consuming their flesh, gaining immense powers for it. As opposed to the Black Panther Cult, they started worshipping the Ape God instead.
13 Wakandan Religion and Its Tribes
The religion of the Wakandan people first developed during the pilgrimage to the land. In their conflict with the Originators, the Gods of Wakanda formed from the heroes of humans within the tribe. Ascending to the status of a god, these heroes became the Orisha, taking the names Kokou, Thoth, Bast, Mujaji, Ptah, and Nyami. The Orishas’ origins date back to the Ancient Egyptian beings known as the Ennead.
In addition to the development of these gods, the people of Wakanda became segmented into various cults that worshipped various animal gods of the area. The most famous cults included the Black Panther Cult and the White Gorilla Cult. 18 tribes in total developed in the country and included the Lion Cult, Crocodile Cult, and Hyena Cult.
12 Shuri's Spies
Once Wakanda became an established nation in Africa, its leaders worked tirelessly to ensure the country remained protected. Given its isolation from the rest of the world, the people of Wakanda thrived without any outside influence from the world.
To further secure the people of the nation, Wakanda developed several layers of military power. Both the Wakandan Army and Navy served to protect the country by land and sea. The Wakandan Air Guard, armed with powerful suits made from vibranium, protected the nation from any aerial strikes and attacks.
In addition to the military strengths, Wakanda also developed its own intelligence agency. The agency known as P.R.I.D.E (Princess Regent Intelligence Division Executives) debuted in Black Panther vol 5 issue #9 and served Queen Shuri during her reign as the Black Panther.
11 Wakanda is scientifically superior in every way
Not only did isolation provide protection for Wakanda - it also helped in their technological advancements within their society. Investing in their own scientific projects and discoveries, Wakanda grew to become one of the most scientifically advanced countries in the world. Their scientific findings even eclipsed the rest of the world.
Wakanda split the atom nearly a century before the rest of the world had done so.
In addition to new scientific discoveries, the people of Wakanda also developed methods to preserve their lush environment best. Though thriving as an advanced city, the use of fossil fuels never became mainstream in Wakanda. Instead, its people utilized more eco-friendly energies including solar power, geothermal and hydrogen. Not only did Wakanda make advancements in the scientific world but also committed early on to reduce their carbon footprint in their nation.
10 Powerful Technology and Weaponry
When Wakanda finally opened its doors to the outside world, the demand for vibranium became overwhelming. The resource, made available in small quantities to specific organizations and world powers, eventually made its way into unique inventions produced for the world.
Between their technological advancements and the varied uses of vibranium, Wakanda developed innovative technology, including their own Hulkbuster and the Avengers' Quinjets. They have also created personal weaponry for the Avengers, including a new shield for Captain America and the wing harness for the Falcon.
However, certain advanced technologies remained within the confines of the country and served the Wakandan people only. Included in this list of exclusive devices are their advanced communication inventions. Even the Black Panther held exclusive technologies like vibranium energy daggers, holopods, and desert sands.
9 Wakanda can cure cancer
The health of the people of Wakanda remained of utmost importance to its leader. Along with universal public health care and readily available services, each person received the Kimoyo Beads. This advanced monitoring service kept track of each person’s health and provided extensive medical knowledge to the individual. Their advancements in the health of its people lead to many scientific breakthroughs the world had yet to discover.
Wakanda even discovered a cure for cancer though they were reluctant to share it.
As noted by one member of the Wakanda council in Black Panther vol 4 issue #3, "If they care about their people's health they wouldn't sell cigarettes." With such an investment into the health of its people, it’s no wonder Wakanda maintained one of the highest life expectancy rates in the entire world.
8 The Highest Literary Rate In The World
Along with advancements in health and technology, Wakanda also became one of the world leaders in education. Holding one of the highest literacy rates to exist, the schools of Wakanda prepared its students in advanced levels of all subjects.
After completing 11 years of education, its citizens could choose their career paths and take necessary classes for free at any of its universities. If a citizen decided not to pursue scholarly education, they could be trained in one of the labor-focused fields including farming or mining. In addition, Wakanda also built the Wakandan School for Alternative Studies for any members of its society that possessed meta-human abilities.
However, due to the isolation of the country, none of its people were allowed to study abroad. The first Wakandan to ever leave the country to study overseas was T’Challa.
7 Wakanda Ruthlessly Destroyed The Skrulls
Over the years, several enemies have tried to penetrate the isolated nation of Wakanda in an attempt to conquer it. To their surprise, they found that the Wakandan people, with their advanced technology and training, to be too much to defeat.
In one particular incident during the Secret Invasion arc, the Skrulls selected Wakanda due to its isolation as an easy target to conquer. To their surprise, the people of Wakanda and their military fought a brutal battle the entire time.
At one point, both sides were left with only spears to fight with.
In the end, the Wakandan people took out every member of the Skrulls including their commander. At the end of their battle, the Wakandans piled the Skrull bodies on the invaders’ ships and sent it back to their fleet. They also scribed a message, warning them not to attack Wakanda again.
6 Doctor Doom Vs Wakanda
Given its limited supply to the outside world, vibranium became a resource that numerous supervillains wanted in their possession. While many tried to steal the mineral through invasions and violence, Doctor Doom devised a plan that would attack Wakanda from within.
Doom conspired with the Desturi to stage a coup of the Wakandan government.
The conservative group, longing for the days when Wakanda remained isolated from the world, began their revolt, throwing the nation into disarray. In the midst of the chaos, Doom took possession of Wakanda, gaining unlimited access to the vibranium. He later exiled Black Panther and his people from their own country.
In time, the Wakandan people trained to defeat Doom and his technologies. Along with the help of the Avengers and the Midnight Angels, Doom was defeated and removed from Wakanda.
5 Namor Nearly Destroyed The Entire Nation
The long-standing rivalry between former allies T’Challa and Namor the Submariner brought unyielding destruction to their people. Various attacks on both Wakanda and Atlantis have played out over the years, with one particularlydeadly encounter in Wakanda during the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline.
As one of the Phoenix Five, Namor and his fearsome team took possession of the world, trying to create a Utopia for everyone. Turning to violence to keep their Utopia in order, they retaliated against anyone that tried to derail their plans.
Namor, angered after being scolded by Cyclops for not winning more battles, decided to attempt to eliminate the Avengers once and for all. He traveled to Wakanda, the location of their hideout, and bombarded the city with a massive tsunami. The resulting attack destroyed most of Wakanda in Avengers vs. X-Men issue #8.
4 Real connections to Africa
Marvel fans first entered the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda in July 1966 in Fantastic Four issue #52. Serving as the birthplace of Black Panther, creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby developed the fictional African country from real-life African nations. In fact, Lee and Kirby sought inspiration for Wakanda from the traditions and location of the Congo.
As the years went on, other comic writers and artists added their own interpretations to Wakanda for their stories. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates’ version of Wakanda carried with it ties to Ethiopia. Even in the most recent debut of Wakanda on the big screen, various sources have cited that director Ryan Coogler found his inspiration in Lesotho.
Regardless of the exact origins of its creation, the nation of Wakanda stands as a fictional country steeped with cultural ties to real life African nations, tribes, and traditions.
3 No one knows where it really is
Since its introduction into the Marvel Comics universe, the exact location of Wakanda depends on the current writing/artist team at the time. In Fantastic Four vol. 3 issue #21, Wakanda existed just north of Tanzania. However, according to the Marvel Atlas issue #2, the fictional country shifted even further north, closer to South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
Not only did Wakanda exist within the real worl,d but additional fictional counties including Canaan, Azania, and Narobia were added as well. In its most recent depiction, the Marvel Cinematic Universe placed Wakanda in the real-life location of the Ilemi Triangle, an area claimed by four African countries. Since its establishment in Captain America: Civil War, Wakanda remained in this same location for the Black Panther movie as well.
2 Wakanda's fight toward democracy
Since its nearly complete destruction, Wakanda faced additional fatal defeats and attacks until the people of the nation questioned their leader. Black Panther was no longer the respected title that it used to be and Wakandans wanted better for their country.
During the A Nation Under Our Feet arc, Wakanda became embroiled in numerous riots led by The People, a group intent on overthrowing Black Panther. They incited riots between the military and the miners of the nation, leading to deadly conflicts and terrorist attacks.
With his country divided between The People and the vigilante group The Midnight Angels, T’Challa faced issues over whether the long-standing monarchy of Wakanda was indeed the best option for his people. In the end, the establishment of a more democratic became the best solution for the kingdom of Wakanda.
1 Real African Languages Were Used in Black Panther
Throughout the history of Black Panther, creators have found inspiration in real-life African nations and its people for the creation of Wakanda. Not only have cultural aspects of these nations been employed, but real-life dialects as well. In the Black Panther movie, real African languages were used to add another level of realism to the portrayals of the fictitious Wakandan people.
As reported by the New York Times, “[T]he filmmakers have used isiXhosa, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, to solidify the story’s African authenticity.”
Also, the people of the Jabari tribe have been reported as speaking a Yoruba dialect that is used in West Africa. Although some may view Wakanda as simply an imaginary nation, incorporating realism in the form of official languages and histories has created an incredible connection between the real world and the MCU.