The fictional nation of Wakanda may have made itself known to the rest of the world in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s officially popping up in the real world, too. At least to some employees of the United States government.
According to the BBC, the US Department of Agriculture briefly listed Wakanda as a free trade nation on a website that tracks tariffs. A reporter at NBC News actually queried the department after a screenshot of the website spread on Twitter with “Wakanda,” the very secluded and extremely fictional nation from Black Panther, in the drop down menu.
Wakanda is listed as a US free trade partner on the USDA website?? pic.twitter.com/xcq1OFTIPh
— Francis Tseng (@frnsys) December 18, 2019
According to the Washington Post, the nation appeared there as the result of a test, which was later spotted by an engineer:
The tracker cautions that the information it presents “is not official and should only be used as a general reference.”
Indeed, far from having the USDA’s imprimatur, an agency spokesman told The Washington Post that Wakanda’s public listing was a mistake from the start. The staff responsible for the tracker were “using test files to ensure that the system is running properly,” Mike Illenberg said in a statement.
“The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down,” he said.
There were hundreds of entries for different goods the nation imported, though “vibranium” doesn’t appear to be on the list:
The tracker listed hundreds of data inputs for Wakanda, according to NBC News, which noted the details before they were deleted. Among the country’s commodity groups were fresh vegetables, unroasted coffee beans, essential oils and livestock.
Wakanda’s yellow potatoes were to maintain a “0.5 cent/kg” base rate when imported, according to the report. Frozen Chinese water chestnuts, however, were tariff free. Cows, too.
Twitter certainly had some fun with the news. If Wakanda were real, there would be a lot of things the US would want to import, including all those rare earth metals.
— Erick Kinyua🚀 (@erickmkinyua) December 19, 2019
It’s especially important, what with election season right around the corner and all.
I’m a single issue voter & that issue is repairing our trade relationship with Wakanda. https://t.co/ENlhhEpO0D
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) December 19, 2019
Of course, some conspiracy theories were inevitable.
What if America has had dealing Vibranium for years and we are now only finding out because of the black panther movie. Wake up Wakanda is real pic.twitter.com/SSYZtJAjxy
— Sweet Potato Spiced Latte (@DymNoDozen) December 19, 2019
This will all make sense when there are subtle references to cows and water chestnuts the next time Wakanda shows up in a Marvel movie.