Before humans came to the land later known as Wakanda, a group of beings known as the Originators lived there. Consisting of spider creatures called Anansi, the snake-like Simbi, the simian Vanyan and the bug-themed Creeping Doom as well as two headed bipeds and underwater dwellers, both of which are unnamed the groups initially lived in harmony with the humans who moved in. War eventually broke out when the humans wanted more. The human heroes turned into the gods Bast, Kokou, Mujaji, Thoth and Ptah the Shaper. Collectively known as the Orisha, these new gods defeated the Originators and sent them to the Nether-Realms. They are still worshipped in Wakanda to this day.
This landlocked nation initially consisted of 18 tribes who ultimately came together under the flag of Wakanda. Partially surrounded by mountains and bordering on Nyanza (Lake Victoria), Wakanda is a naturally well-defended locale, though they have had regular conflicts with their neighbors from Niganda.
The most incredible feature of the nation, though, happens to be the presence of Vibranium, a mysterious extraterrestrial element with kinetic energy absorbing properties, especially when it comes to sound. In the far past huge meteorite of the substance crashed within the borders of what would become Wakanda. The people began exploring the phenomena, but began suffering from a kind of radiation poisoning, so the chieftain banned citizens from the Mena Ngai, or Great Mound. He also established a Panther Cult to keep the curious away, protecting both the people and the resource in the process. This lead to the birth of the Black Panther cult and that group's leader, the Black Panther. The very first Black Panther joined a group of other super powered beings fro 1,000,000 years ago to keep Wakanda and the world safe. Before long, they learned how to mine and use the Vibranium without risking their health.
The Black Panther evolved to become the political and religious leader of the nation. The honor is both hereditary and merit-based. When one Panther passes away or steps down, the next oldest heir takes over. They must not only prove their worth by climbing Mount Kanda and attaining the heart-shaped herb that enhances them mentally and physically, but also by presenting themselves to the Panther god for judgement. Even if a candidate passes both of those trials, they must also endure a yearly test of challengers looking to assume the role. In matters of state, the leader consults with a council of elders known as the Taifa Ngao, but also can commune with the souls of all previous Black Panthers.
A group of warrior women known as the Dora Milaje act as protectors of the Panther and are also seen as potential mates. Their ranks consist of the best and brightest the individual tribes have to offer. In addition to a council of advisors, the Panther also relies on a group called the Hatut Zerazi -- or Dogs of War -- who operate as a secret police force. The country's spy network, called the N'Charu Silema has been operating secretly all across the globe, infiltrating most major governments and sending information back home. Wakanda also employs more traditional armed forces divisions such as the Army, Navy and Air Guard, all of which have utilized advanced technology in defending the nation.
Between the natural defenses and those built using Vibranium, Wakanda remained unconquered and mostly unknown for most of its history. This allowed the country to not only develop its own language and currency, but also a superior education system that includes free universities as well as the Wakandan School for Alternative Studies for the nation's super humans. All of this put Wakanda on a technological track that remains far more evolved than the rest of the world, but also quite different given the availability of Vibranium.The people have used this knowledge to unlock the secrets of the universe as well as protect Wakanda itself. On a more immediate level, every Wakandan is granted Kimoyo beads, a communicated device that also keeps track of their health.
A Nation Unconquered
The secretive and isolationist, Wakanda has had to fend off many would-be conquerors over the centuries. During World War II, the nation found itself very popular amongst both the Nazis and the Americans. Shortly after an invading force of the latter were mostly wiped out, Captain America and the Howling Commandos went to establish a line of communication with Black Panther Azzuri. The king bested the Sentinel of Liberty, but they all worked together to fend off an invading Nazi force lead by Red Skull, Wolfgang Von Strucker, Master Man, Warrior Woman and Tiger Man. As thanks for helping, Azzuri gave Steve Rogers a sample of Vibranium. He gave it to the U.S. government for use in this new round shield, but never told them exactly what it was.
Azzuri's son T'Chaka became Black Panther after him. In addition to fathering two future Panthers in T'Challa and Shuri, he also took in the stranded Hunter who would go on to lead the Hatut Zaraze as the White Wolf. He explored the idea of further reaching out to the rest of the world as his father did, but that lead to an unfortunate deal with a mercenary named Klaw who secretly intended to steal Vibranium. In the process Klaw killed T'Chaka and was forced out. T'Chaka's son T'Challa was a child at the time, so his uncle S'Yan became Black Panther. At this point, the young man went out into the world to learn before returning, besting his uncle and becoming the Black Panther himself, inadvertently stymiying Shuri's chance at the title in the process.
When strange creatures began attacking his nation, the leader called on the Fantastic Four for help which began the process of opening Wakanda up to the rest of the world. Before long, T'Challa not only decided to make the true nature of his nation known to the world, but also defend it himself as a super hero, even joining the Avengers. However, these actions did not always sit well with those back home. Some, like the Desturi, even wanted to return to the old ways when Wakanda was closed off to the rest of the world. Even so, Wakanda joined the United Nations, established embassies around the world and even established the Wakanda Design Group, a tech company operating internationally.
In recent years, Wakanda fended off attacks lead by Klaw, Man-Ape, Killmonger, Skrulls and even Doctor Doom. Before declaring war, the Latverian leader succeeded in gravely injuring T'Challa which lead to Shuri becoming the Black Panther. When T'Challa got better, he became the leader of Necropolis, the City of the Dead. During Shuri's reign, Wakanda found itself in near-constant turmoil. After Shuri ordered Wakandan forces to destroy Atlantis, Namor retaliated by forming the Cabal which took over the African nation in an effort to destroy other realities crashing into theirs, called Incursions. Namor and his group reveled in the chance to destroy the Golden City and murder Wakandans. Shortly after, reality was destroyed and re-written by T'Challa using an Infinity Gauntlet, which restored Wakanda and his own kingship.
Given Wakanda's role as a powerhouse nation with a resource that everyone else on the planet desires, they always seem to have one malevolent force or another targeting them, but the nation strives on knowing that the Black Panther will lead them into the future with wisdom and courage.