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Map of Wakanda from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #12 (December 1983).
Art by Don McGregor.
|First appearance||Fantastic Four #52|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Ruler||Black Panther (T’Challa)|
|Notable locations||Birnin Zana (Golden City), the Vibranium Mound, Jabari village|
|Currency||Wakandan vibranium dollar|
Wakanda (/ - -/,) is a fictional country appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is located in sub-Saharan Africa, and is home to the superhero Black Panther. Wakanda first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Wakanda has appeared in comics and various media adaptations, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). A highly developed country, Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on the planet.
Wakanda is located in East Africa, although its exact location has varied throughout the nation's publication history: some sources place Wakanda just north of Tanzania and exactly at Burundi, while others – such as Marvel Atlas #2 – show it at the north end of Lake Turkana, in between South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia (and surrounded by fictional countries like Azania, Canaan, and Narobia). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, on-screen maps use the location given in Marvel Atlas #2.
In recent stories by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Wakanda is located on Lake Victoria, near Mohannda, Canaan, Azania and Niganda. This places these nations mostly in what in real life is the eastern half of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Birnin Zana is located within Wakanda. It is considered by some to be a smart city. In Birnin Zana, pedestrians walk along commerce-filled streets that are car-free except for the occasional appearance of (buslike) shuttles. The whole is quite similar to the Woonerf Concept, an approach to public space design which started in the Netherlands in the 1970s. Maglev trains are seen zipping above and around the city. The Wakandan buildings incorporate some traditional African elements (i.e. thatch roofs and hanging gardens) on some of the tallest structures.
Before the emergence of the Wakanda nation, mystic beings known as Originators were expelled from the region by the Heliopolitans. This was later retconned as the Orisha, the pantheon of Wakanda consisting of Thoth, Ptah, Mujaji, Kokou and Bast, the Panther Goddess.
In the distant past, a massive meteorite made up of the element vibranium crashed in Wakanda. It was unearthed a generation before the events of the present day. T'Challa, the current Black Panther, is the son of T'Chaka, the Black Panther before him and a descendant of Bashenga. Knowing that others would attempt to manipulate and dominate Wakanda for this rare and valuable resource, T'Chaka conceals his country from the outside world. He sells off minute amounts of the valuable vibranium while surreptitiously sending the country's best scholars to study abroad, consequently turning Wakanda into one of the world's most technologically advanced nations. Eventually, however, the explorer Ulysses Klaue finds his way to Wakanda and covers up his work on a vibranium-powered, sound-based weapon. When exposed, Klaue kills T'Chaka, only to see his "sound blaster" turned on him by a grieving teenaged T'Challa. Klaue's right hand is destroyed, and he and his men flee.
Vibranium radiation has permeated much of Wakanda's flora and fauna, including the Heart-Shaped Herb eaten by members of the Black Panther Cult (although T'Challa once allowed a dying Spider-Man to eat it in the hope that it would help him deal with a mysterious illness) and the flesh of the White Gorilla eaten by the members of the White Gorilla Cult.
In the 2008 "Secret Invasion" storyline, Skrull forces led by Commander K'vvvr invade Wakanda and engage Black Panther and his forces. Due to heavy resistance to the deployment of technological developments, both sides are forced to fight with swords and spears. The Wakandan forces voluntarily wear panther masks; this prevents the Skrulls from focusing attacks on their leader. Despite losses, the Wakandans defeat the Skrulls. They kill every single one, including K'vvvr, and send their ship back, packed with the bodies. A warning against invading Wakanda is left written on the wall of the ship's control center.
While under the cosmic power of the Phoenix Force, Namor attacks Wakanda for hiding the Avengers and destroys much of the country with a tidal wave. After the attack, all mutants are banned from Wakanda as stated by Black Panther. Some students from the Jean Grey school are attacked by the Wakandan people; the students barely flee with the help of Storm.
Bast the Panther Goddess, based on Bastet the ancient Egyptian deity, is the primary deity of Wakanda. After the vibranium meteor fell, a number of Wakandans were painfully mutated into "demon spirits" and began attacking their fellow Wakandans.
T'Challa's ancestor Bashenga begun to close the vibranium mound to outsiders. He formed a religious order that guarded the mound and fought to keep the "demon spirits" from spreading across the kingdom. As the ceremonial and religious role, he took the title of Black Panther as chief of the Panther Tribe. As part of the cult's ceremonies, a Black Panther is entitled to the use of a heart-shaped herb. The herb enhances the physical attributes of the person who consumes it to near-superhuman levels, in a similar manner to the super-soldier serum.
White Gorilla cult
The Jabari tribe is known for worshiping gorilla gods: Ghekre, based on the Baoulé deity of the same name and Ngi, based on the Yaounde deity of the same name. Wakanda evolved from a hunter-warrior society, and was traditionally ruled by its greatest warrior. The dominant Black Panther Cult outlawed the rival White Gorilla Cult's worship in Wakanda. M'Baku (Man-Ape) of the Jabari tribe is one of Wakanda's greatest warriors, second only to T'Challa, the Black Panther himself. While T'Challa, king of Wakanda, is on a several month leave of absence from Wakanda, the ambitious M'Baku plots to usurp the throne. M'Baku flouts T'Challa's edicts and revives the White Gorilla Cult, killing one of the rare white gorillas living in the jungles near Wakanda. M'Baku bathes in the gorilla's blood and eats its flesh which "mystically" confers the gorilla's great strength upon M'Baku. He tries to defeat T'Challa in combat, hoping to take over the country, but is beaten and banished from Wakanda. According to the 2018 film, the White Gorilla cult, known in the film as the Jabari (or the Mountain Tribe), revere the monkey god Hanuman.
Sekmet the Lion Goddess, based on the deity of the same name, could possess the form of any human worshipers or the bodies of those sanctified and sacrificed by her worshipers, she transformed these subjects into human avatars of herself. She has a number of other powers, some of which she has demonstrated. Sekhmet could grow in size, move at rapid speeds, teleport herself and others, and alter her specific density. The Lion goddess possessed superhuman strength and durability, and she was immortal. She can manipulate the minds of the weak-willed.
Little is known of the history of the Lion Goddess. She had apparently lost many worshipers over the years to the Cult of the Panther God, despite the fact that Sekhmet physically manifested before its followers, and the Panther God only appears to its priests.
There are several theories for the name of Wakanda. The name may be inspired by a Siouan god called Wakanda, Wakonda, or Waconda, or Wakandas, a fictional African tribe from Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel The Man-Eater, written in 1915 but published posthumously in 1957, or the Kenyan tribe Kamba, Akamba or Wakamba, or the word "kanda", which means "family" in Kikongo.
In the comics, Wakanda has three official languages: Wakandan, Yoruba and Hausa. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe characters from Wakanda are portrayed speaking the South-East African Xhosa language. The Jabari Tribe are portrayed speaking a dialect similar to Igbo from Nigeria.
In the comics, Wakanda is the foremost military power on Marvel Earth. The Wakandan Army is the country's main ground forces, while the Wakandan Navy oversees naval operations. The Wakandan Air Guard is the nation's air force, which includes pilots wearing powerful suits of combat armor. In order to ensure peace and stability in Wakanda, the Black Panther picked Dora Milaje ("adored ones") from rival tribes to serve as his personal guard and ceremonial wives-in-training. Wakanda has its own intelligence system known as the N'Charu Silema; a spy network that worked across the globe to maintain the nation's secrecy. It was considered as good as the Mossad and certainly better than the CIA and MI6. later, P.R.I.D.E. (Princess Regent Intelligence Division Executives) was developed as the nation's protection agency. Wakanda is one of the few Earth-616 civilizations who have contingency plans for dealing with Galactus, "The Devourer of Worlds".
In December 2019, it was discovered that the US Department of Agriculture's website listed Wakanda as a free-trade partner, with a list of traded goods which included ducks, donkeys and dairy cows. The USDA claimed the fictional country had been added to the list "by accident during a staff test" and removed it soon after the public became aware of it.
The Wakandan capital city (Birnin Zana) could offer an alternative for what future cities could be like in Africa. There are already many smart city initiatives being worked out in Africa. Akon City, a planned city in Senegal, is inspired by Wakanda's capital city, and there are many ecocities that are emerging across Africa.
In other media
- J. Holland, Jesse. Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther? (2017) ISBN 978-1302902674
- Jim McCann. Black Panther - The Junior Novel (2018) - novelization of the movie Black Panther. ISBN 9780316413206
- Ronald L. Smith. Black Panther: The Young Prince ISBN 9781484787649
- Nic Stone. Shuri: A Black Panther Novel (2020) ISBN 9781338585476
Little Golden Books
- Frank Berrios. Black Panther (2018) ISBN 9781524763886
- Frank Berrios. Warriors of Wakanda (2018) ISBN 9781984831729
Mighty Marvel Chapter Books
- Wakanda appears in the 1994 Fantastic Four episode "Prey of the Black Panther." The Black Panther lures the Fantastic Four to Wakanda in order to test them and see if they were worthy enough to help him fight Klaw.
- T'Challa/Black Panther appears in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode "Panther's Prey".
- Wakanda appears in the Black Panther TV series. Like the comics, Klaw killed T'Chaka resulting in T'Challa becoming king and the new Black Panther. Later, Klaw decides to invade Wakanda and manages to round up Juggernaut, Batroc the Leaper, Cannibal, the second Radioactive Man, and the Vatican Black Knight to help him with his plans.
- Wakanda appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes micro-episode "Welcome to Wakanda". Man-Ape challenges T'Chaka for the throne of Wakanda and manages to defeat him with some unseen help from Klaw which resulted in T'Chaka dying from his injuries. Following T'Chaka's death, Man-Ape and Klaw enslave the Wakandans and have them mine for vibranium. This causes T'Challa to become the new Black Panther as he plans to find some allies to help liberate Wakanda. In the episode "Panther's Quest", T'Challa asked the Avengers for help to regain his kingdom from Man-Ape and Klaw. After Man-Ape and Klaw are defeated, T'Challa tells his people that they should no longer remain isolated from the rest of the world.
- Wakanda appears in the Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers episode "His Majesty, Black Panther!"
- Wakanda appears in Avengers Assemble and its re-titled seasons. In the episode "The Panther and the Wolf," it is revealed that some of the Wakandans are on the Shadow Council's side like N'Jadaka, M'Baku, and some unnamed Wakandans whether they are either high-ranking or less fortunate.
- Wakanda is mentioned in the Runaways TV series which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
- Wakanda appears in the straight-to-DVD animated feature Ultimate Avengers 2 as a central location and the focal point for an alien invasion. Here the country is portrayed as extreme isolationist nation that views all outsiders as enemies.
- Wakanda appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes - Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Wakanda is briefly shown on a holographic map in Iron Man 2 and is mentioned in Avengers: Age of Ultron as the source nation of vibranium, but is portrayed for the first time in the final scene of Captain America: Civil War, where Captain America takes refuge with Bucky Barnes. The film also introduces Black Panther to the MCU, ahead of his solo film. In Civil War, T'Challa and his father are shown conversing together in the Xhosa language. For Civil War, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman uses a "regional accent based on where Wakanda would be. He did great research on the very cultural aspects of the character. Even though it's a fictional culture, [he figured] out ways to tether it into real African culture." In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its location was established in Captain America: Civil War when it was shown on a map: at the northern end of Lake Turkana, at a fictional point bordering Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. In real life, this area is actually a disputed border region known as the Ilemi Triangle, claimed by each of these countries. The Black Panther film further established that, in keeping with this map location, it is a landlocked country in the central mountains far from the coasts. Impassable mountains and jungles around its borders have helped Wakanda isolate itself from outsiders. Internally, Wakanda consists of lush river valleys, mountain ranges rich in natural resources, and a fabulous capital city that integrates space-age technology with traditional designs.
- Wakanda appears prominently in the 2018 film Black Panther, which further expands on its background and culture. The film establishes that, as in the comics, the Black Panther's super-strength comes from consuming the "heart-shaped herb", stating that it is local vegetation that was mutated over millions of years of exposure to Vibranium. Wakanda consists of five tribes, four of which were united under the rule of the first Black Panther 10,000 years ago. As in the comics, the four tribes (The River tribe, the Mining tribe, the Merchant tribe, and the Border tribe) worship Bast, the panther god, amongst others, and also have a strong spiritual tradition of ancestor worship. The River Tribe wear green clothes made from crocodile skin and some males have a lip plate on them. The Mining Tribe are in charge of the Vibranium that is mined, stored, and utilized. The Merchant Tribe are responsible for trades and crafts of art, clothing and pieces of art where they also wear veils during a trade to maintain anonymity. The Border Tribe reside on the mountainous borders of Wakanda posing as farmers in order to deceive foreigners of Wakanda's wealth as well as their talent of breeding white rhinoceros even for battle. The fifth tribe are the Jabari, who follow the white gorilla cult (of the god Hanuman) – they are staunch traditionalists who live isolated up in the mountains. While considered part of Wakanda, the Black Panther's hold over the Jabari is tenuous; during the film, their leader M'Baku rejects T'Challa as a worthy heir to the throne during his coronation, and challenges him to ceremonial combat to claim it for himself. The lords of each tribe sit on the king's councils, and after the Mountain tribe assists T'Challa in his overthrow of the usurper, N'Jadaka aka Erik Kilmonger, to take back the throne, M'Baku is also granted a seat on that council in recognition of his loyalty. The four main tribes of Wakanda speak a version of the Xhosa language, while the Jabari speak an Igbo dialect. The opening animated sequence explains Wakanda was aware that the outside world was becoming increasingly chaotic, throughout the various events of history affecting Africa such as the Atlantic slave trade, the colonisation of Africa by European powers, World War I, and World War II. The Black Panthers of the past, however, were devoted to defending their own country and did not interfere, instead choosing to hide Wakanda from the world - fearing that if they became involved and revealed themselves, it would eventually lead outsiders to try to invade Wakanda itself. Wakanda passes itself off as a small, poor Third World nation of humble herdsmen, using an advanced holographic projection shroud around its borders to hide the advanced technological civilization within. A core tension of the film's narrative is that the new Black Panther, T'Challa, is torn between his loyalty to hide and defend Wakanda as its king, and his own conscience to help the faltering world beyond its borders. Erik Killmonger then arrives in Wakanda to try to seize the throne - mirroring T'Challa's desire to end Wakanda's isolationism, but by conquering the outside world using Wakanda's advanced technologies and weapons. Ultimately, T'Challa defeats Killmonger and decides to reveal Wakanda's true nature to the world during an address at the United Nations. The film's popularity led to a trend among athletes and celebrities around the world to throw up "Wakanda Forever" salutes after their victories. Director Ryan Coogler stated that his depiction of Wakanda was inspired by the southern African kingdom of Lesotho. Basotho blankets also became more known as a result of the film and its basis on Lesotho.
- Wakanda appears in Avengers: Infinity War. When the Avengers learn of Thanos' quest for the Infinity Stones, they travel to Wakanda so that the country's advanced science can remove the Mind Stone from Vision's head without killing him. When Thanos's forces attack Wakanda, the Avengers join forces with Wakanda's army to hold off Thanos' forces. Despite the aid of Thor, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot, Thanos is able to claim the Mind Stone, completing the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos then eliminates half the population of the universe, including T’Challa and several Wakandans. M’Baku and Okoye survive Thanos' finger snap, alongside Steve Rogers, Thor, Banner, Black Widow, Rocket, and War Machine, all present during the Wakanda battle.
- Wakanda also briefly appears in Avengers: Endgame after the final battle against 2014 Thanos and Tony Stark's sacrifice. Promotional material indicates Shuri was killed as a result of Thanos' finger snap.
- Wakanda appears as a location in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. When the control nanites start to infect the world, Wakanda is one of its victims when The Fold absorbs some mercenaries into its ranks. After taking out Havok, A-Bomb, and Justice, the heroes make their way to Black Panther's palace where they discover that Nick Fury has fallen victim to the control nanites. They end up defeating The Fold-absorbed Wakandans led by Green Goblin and Venom III. When Green Goblin and Venom III are subdued, Black Panther's palace serves as a hub since Stark Tower has fallen under the control of The Fold (and the nanites cannot comprehend Fury's files on Wakanda). When the heroes are fighting Tinkerer at the Repeater Tower in Iceland, Wakanda is under attack by The Fold until the jamming signal is unleashed, thus neutralizing the nanites and saving the world.
- Wakanda makes a cameo in Storm's ending in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. She and Black Panther oversee the land while discussing whether or not humanity is worth saving, what with mutant discrimination still being rife.
- Wakanda appears in Marvel Heroes. The players must try to defeat Man-Ape in a level called "Vibranium Mines" in order to keep him from and his followers from mining the Vibranium.
- Wakanda is referenced in Lego Marvel Super Heroes. In the mid-credits, Black Panther tells Nick Fury that the people of Wakanda thank him for thwarting Loki and Galactus' attack.
- Wakanda appears as a stage in Disney Infinity 3.0.
- Wakanda appears as a stage in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, merged with Val Habar from Monster Hunter 4 to become Valkanda.
- Wakanda appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. It appears as one of the locations that Kang the Conqueror uses to create Chronopolis. The heroes visit Wakanda where they help Black Panther deal with a Vibranium heist overseen by Klaw, Man-Ape, and the Hydra Four. It is also featured in the "Black Panther" DLC that is not connected to the MCU film.
- The embassy of Wakanda appears in Marvel's Spider-Man. It appears as one of the landmark tokens. In this continuity, the embassy of Wakanda is located near the headquarters of the United Nations.
- Wakanda appears in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order when Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) attacks the country.
- Text in this article was copied from Wakanda at the Marvel Database, which is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA 3.0) license.
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