|Inhabitants||People of Panem|
|Appearance||The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay|
Panem is a nation that was established during an unknown time period in a post-apocalyptic world. It is situated primarily on the western side of North America, and the Capitol is located in an area formerly known as the Rocky Mountains, as it states in the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy.
Panem was run by a single-party dictatorship that was led by President Snow before the second rebellion. It is portrayed in the trilogy to be the dominant society in North America, and no other nations or civilized societies beyond Panem have been mentioned, so it is unknown if any exist at all.
The name Panem derives from the Latin phrase panem et circenses, which literally translates into 'bread and circuses'. The phrase itself is used to describe entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters. Furthermore, by the government providing ample food and entertainment, the citizens would give up their political rights.
Panem is located in the remains of North America. Not much is known about the exact locations of the districts, other than the fact District 12 is located in the Appalachia.
Much of Panem's history is shrouded in mystery, though known history dates back approximately seventy-five years prior to the beginning of The Hunger Games trilogy.
An unspecified time before the current date, the face of the Earth changed and modern civilization was seemingly destroyed. It is unknown precisely what caused the "end of the world," but major landmasses changed shape as the sea level rose to unknown heights around the planet. Some time after the end of the world as we knew it, a nation was established in North America that would soon come to be known as Panem. It is unknown precisely when Panem was established and how long it has existed, though it is certain that Panem has been around for more than seventy-five years, and it's entirely possible for it to be at least a century or two old.
Panem eventually grew large enough that it was segmented into thirteen separate districts, each responsible for producing goods of a particular industry to serve the growing needs of the nation, and all operating under the auspices of Panem's oppressive Capitol. Its exact method of expansion is unknown; it is possible that some of the separate districts may have even once been smaller, separate nations that were eventually annexed by Panem.
The Dark Days
- Main article: The Dark Days
Approximately seventy-four years before the events of The Hunger Games trilogy, the various districts of Panem rebelled against the Capitol, primarily due to the oppressive fashion in which the Capitol government ruled over the districts. It is unknown how long the rebellion lasted or the exact number of casualties on either side (although the Capitol claims that for every dead Capitol citizen, two rebels died), but by the end of the conflict, the Capitol had quelled the rebellion, defeating twelve of the districts and obliterating the thirteenth entirely.
The Hunger Games
- Main article: The Games
In the wake of the rebellion, the Capitol established the Hunger Games, an annual event in which twenty-four children between the ages of twelve and eighteen, one boy and one girl from each district, are chosen from a lottery and entered into a gladiatorial competition where they must fight each other to the death until only one remains standing.
The event served two purposes. The first was to demonstrate the overwhelming power the Capitol had over the districts by taking their children by force and forcing them to slay each other in a no-rules competition. It was proof that the Capitol's control over its people was so inexorable and unstoppable that they could do something so sadistic as to force the children of their conquered foes to slay each other in a battle royale. The second purpose was purely for entertainment. The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in the same vein as a reality show, its entrants practically considered celebrities and the events themselves dramatized and glorified.
The Second Rebellion
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The Second Rebellion formed in the aftermath of the 74th Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark's near double-suicide at the end of the games, which was interpreted as an act of rebellion by many residents of the districts. As a result, it caused many to rebel by the start of the 75th Hunger Games, which was also the 3rd Quarter Quell. During the Quarter Quell, in which past victors were reaped into the games, Katniss shoots an arrow connected to a piece of wire, which was connected to a tree, into an imperfection in the force field surrounding the arena. The tree is then struck by lightning, which causes the force field to malfunction and, overall, stop working. She was rescued and transported to District 13, in which they had rebuilt themselves underground before being bombed during the Dark Days. Beetee and Finnick are also rescued. Peeta, Johanna, and Enobaria are captured and held by the Capitol. In an attempt to end the rebellion, the Capitol destroyed District 12, much like District 13 was.
Led by President Alma Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee, the resistance overthrew the Capitol. As requested, Katniss Everdeen was to kill President Snow. However, in the heat of the moment, Katniss killed Coin and Snow died from what is rumored to of been from either suffocation or because of poison consumption. After Coin's death at the hands of Katniss Everdeen, Commander Paylor of District 8 was elected President of Panem and the Hunger Games were ended.
- Main article: The Capitol
The Capitol is the biggest city in Panem and serves as the nation's central seat of government. It is located in an area formerly known as the Rocky Mountains and is surrounded by the thirteen outlying districts.
The free residents of the Capitol are generally considered the wealthiest (and most decadent) of all Panem, and the city's prosperity is fueled by the industries and forced labor of the districts beyond. While it is a major territory, it is not considered one of the thirteen districts. The people are most known for their "creative" outfits, and crazy sense of fashion, even to the extent of dying the color of their own skin, or even having whiskers implanted, a thought that disgusts Katniss Everdeen. President Snow leads Panem, until there is rebellion and eventually, war.
The nation of Panem was separated into a total of thirteen nation-states known as districts, twelve of which are recognized as operational by the Capitol, and each being responsible for producing, procuring, or refining goods in a particular industry as dictated by the Capitol. All of the districts are subject to the unrelenting will of the authoritarian Capitol, and have no known influence concerning the national politics of Panem beyond their own individual territories.
The districts barely interact with each other since it was illegal, so each district generally has a unique culture unaffected by the other districts. Welfare levels vary significantly, and are often dependent on the goods it produces; some districts, such as 11 and 12, are far more impoverished than wealthier districts like 1, 2, and 4, though apparently no district is nearly as wealthy as the Capitol itself.
Originally, there were thirteen districts in Panem. During the Dark Days, the District 13 was obliterated by the Capitol and is no longer recognized as operational. Each district provides something different to the Capitol; for example, District 12 provides coal and District 4 provides fish.
- Main article: District 1
District 1 is one of the thirteen districts of Panem. Its industry is making luxury items for the Capitol. Due to the nature of its industry, it's considered the wealthiest district, the only other wealthier area being the Capitol itself. It is a Career District. Little else is known about this district. At the end of Mockingjay, memorials were made for the fallen Tributes and Victors from District 1, meaning District 1 has 148 of Panem's memorials in their District, notable ones being Cashmere, Gloss, Glimmer and Marvel.
- Main article: District 2
- Main article: District 3
District 3's primary industry is general electronics of many types, though it is known for also making various mechanical products such as automobiles and firearms. Their tributes are skilled with electronics. Some notable tributes are Beetee and Wiress.
- Main article: District 4
District 4's industry is fishing, thus most residents have experience using nets and tridents, making fishhooks from scratch, swimming, and identifying edible sea life. It is considered a Career district. Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta live in this district. Finnick was an important ally of Katniss Everdeen in the Quarter Quell.
- Main article: District 5
District 5's industry is power. It is known that Katniss Everdeen met one of the winners from this district during the 75th Hunger Games. Also, Foxface, a clever tribute from Katniss' first Games, was from District 5.
- Main article: District 6
District 6's industry is transportation. In the 75th Hunger Games, two of the past winners ended up becoming morphling addicts which may suggest a high use in this drug. Little else is known about District 6. Some known tributes are the Morphlings and Titus.
- Main article: District 7
District 7's industry is lumber and many of its residents have experience with hatchets, axes, saws, and other tree cutting tools. Also, Katniss notes that this district's children begin work at an early age. Katniss and Peeta had to travel through District 7 to get to the Capitol. Johanna Mason and Blight who were also the two victors who were chosen for the 3rd Quarter Quell.
- Main article: District 8
District 8's industry is the production of textiles, and they have at least one factory that is primarily used for making Peacekeeper uniforms. It was the first district to rebel after Katniss Everdeen spurred the revolution. The rebellion worsened conditions for residents and some, including Bonnie and Twill, escaped. However, Bonnie and Twill never made it to safety in District 13. Cecelia and Woof are victors from District 8.
- Main article: District 9
- Main article: District 10
Livestock is District 10's industry. Not much is known about this district, but some known information is that its marriage rituals are similar to that of District 4's. In the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss names the boy from District 10 "the boy with the bad leg." Katniss and Peeta had to travel through District 10 also to get to the Capitol.
- Main article: District 11
District 11's industry is agriculture - orchards and fields of grain and cotton surround the district. Almost everything grown is shipped directly to the Capitol. It is one of the poorest districts in Panem, second only to District 12. In addition, it is also one of the districts where the Peacekeepers are the strictest. Ironically, this directly results in its residents generally being malnourished and underfed despite its focus on agriculture. In Catching Fire, Katniss said on her and Peeta's Victory Tour, that District 11 is south of District 12. District 11 is located somewhere near Atlanta and is quite large. Rue and Thresh were notable tributes. Seeder and Chaff were victors from District 11.
- Main article: District 12
District 12 is located somewhere near what was the Appalachian mountains. Its main industry is coal mining. The district has the distinction of being one of the poorest districts, if not the outright poorest, in all of Panem. Before Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the 74th Hunger Games, the district has not had a winner of the Games emerge from the ranks of its residents for twenty-four years since Haymitch Abernathy, a raging alcoholic and an embarrassment to the district, won the 50th Hunger Games. Before Haymitch, there was only one other victor from District 12 from an unspecified number of years previous.
District 12 is the laughing stock of Panem. Shortly after the abrupt end of the 75th Hunger Games and during the opening hours of the Second Rebellion, District 12 was destroyed by the Capitol, using firebombs. Less than 900 people escaped, mostly thanks to the foresight of Gale Hawthorne. At the end of the Second Rebellion, District 12 starts to rebuild.
- Main article: District 13
District 13 was one of the thirteen districts of Panem. Its industry was nuclear weapons. It was supposedly obliterated during the Dark Days as a warning to the other twelve districts of the Capitol's might. The district is now said to be uninhabitable, the ruins supposedly still smoldering from the toxic bombs dropped upon it.
The Capitol, after the Dark Days, lead Panem's population to widely believe that the official, main industry of District 13 was graphite mining. However, this was a cover for the truth: nuclear technology research and development, including weapons.
It is revealed in Mockingjay that the district is in actuality still operational, though it has seceded from the nation of Panem and operates covertly. While the surface of District 13 remains scarred and uninhabitable, its residents live deep underground, hidden away from the world and the eyes of the Capitol. It is used as a base for the Second Rebellion. The Capitol leaves District 13 alone, and none of its residents participate in the Games because they are not ruled by Panem.
Many of the wealthier districts such as Districts 1, 2 and 4, known as "Career Districts," have a more positive orientation toward the Hunger Games. As residents do not generally face extreme poverty and malnutrition as is done in more impoverished districts, their tributes are generally healthy and strong. In these districts, it is not uncommon for children to volunteer to be tributes, as winning the Games is held in highest regard in these districts. Although it is against the rules of the Games, children in these districts are often specifically raised to participate in the Hunger Games, and thus are trained in the arts of combat and survival. Thus, they are typically known as Career Tribute, or "Careers" for short.
Behind the scenes
Panem and the general setting of The Hunger Games has many references to the Ancient Roman Empire. The Games themselves are reminiscent of the Roman munera, or gladiatorial games. The districts surrounding the Capitol are similar to the Roman provinces that surrounded the city of Rome. Many names, particularly of those from the Capitol are Roman names, such as Cinna, Seneca, Caesar, Coriolanus, Portia etc.