If you are thinking about heading to the movies soon, like everyone else in the country, you may be drawn to the Box Office hit Black Panther. And if you are entering it as a complete novice – based on the top notch reviews alone – you’ll want to go in with a little bit of background on the context and history of Wakanda. Not even sure what that is? Read on to give yourself a crash course on this African Nation that will get you all set to enjoy the movie from the front row!
Located in East Africa, this small fictional nation is officially known as the Kingdom of Wakanda, and in the Marvel comic book series, it is the most technologically advanced country on the planet. While its exact location has varied throughout its publication history, the film places Wakanda on the map bordering Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. It is a landlocked country, surrounded by mountains and dense jungles, both of which have helped Wakanda remain isolated from the outside world. The nation itself consists of lush river valleys, mountain ranges rich with natural resources, and a capital city that incorporates advanced technology with traditional designs.
History of Wakanda
According to legend, Wakanda was once home to a collection of five primitive human tribes. When a meteor struck the region, one warrior ingested a heart-shaped herb that had been affected by the meteor strike. Doing so gave the warrior superpowers, which he was then able to use to unite most of the tribes, taking them under his rule. He became the first Black Panther, and his lineage would continue to rule the country for centuries. T’Challa is the current ruler, and as such is also the current Black Panther. Following along so far?
Power and Function
When the meteor strike occurred, it left an everlasting supply of Vibraniam. Wakanda’s self-sufficiency fuel, it is considered the strongest metal in the world, and Wakanda is the only nation on the planet to possess this metal. Because of the country’s isolation and refusal to engage in trade with other nations, they have avoided the resource curse. They have used the metal to help support and look after their people, and have continued to grow and develop as a successful country, with deep traditions of self-preservation and a comfortable social safety net.
With the life-long source of energy and T’Challa working with the people to establish a highly functioning, self-sufficient nation, Wakanda has developed over the years to have its own language, government, healthcare, and educational systems. Wakanda has also seen the advancement of religious cults, based on ties to ancient African Gods. The latest film delves into a revolt against T’Challa’s monarchy and how its people really do take advantage of being able to have power.
Who wins, what happens to Wakanda, and who becomes the new ruler is all set to be revealed…in the new movie! If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Grab your popcorn and get with the program!
And make sure to play some fun Marvel quizzes on Sporcle!