Vibranium is a nearly indestructible element that crash landed from outer space millennia ago into the African region that would become Wakanda. The element severely impacted the environment of Wakanda, enriching the soil and plant life.
The element was mined into malleable metal and was used extensively by Wakandans in their everyday lives and making Wakanda the most technologically advanced country on the Earth.
Wakanda became an isolationist nation, posing as a third world country, in order to keep the existence of vibranium a secret, although it was discovered by researchers sometime during the 1940s. Believing the small amount he had obtained to be the only source in existence, Howard Stark used the entire supply to forge a shield, which he later presented in 1943 to Captain America.
In 1992, Ulysses Klaue successfully stole billions of dollars worth of vibranium from Wakanda with the help of the Wakandan prince N'Jobu, which he sold until 2015, when his remaining cache was purchased by the homicidal A.I. known as Ultron.
Ultron used the vibranium to create several bodies for his consciousness as well as to combine it with Chitauri technology in an attempt to eradicate humanity. Ultron also used the vibranium in conjunction with Helen Cho's Cradle to create a synthetic vibranium body; however, it was stolen by the Avengers, who uploaded the remnants of Tony Stark's personal A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. into the body, giving birth to the android known as Vision.
In 2016, Erik Killmonger overthrew the new king of Wakanda T'Challa. He planned to arm the oppressed groups in every nation with advanced vibranium weapons to take down the governments and start the Wakanda Empire.
T'Challa, armed with his vibranium Panther Habit, killed Killmonger and stopped his plan.