Prempeh, last of the Ashanti kings, Ghana, 1922.Artist: PA McCann

Beyond Wakanda: Real African Royalty

From Ethiopia to Madagascar, a look back at powerful monarchs of yore.

Wakanda — ruled by heir ascendant King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in the blockbuster film "Black Panther" — may be a fictional African nation, but the continent has a very real (and very long) monarchical history. FOTO sifted through our legendary archives to surface images of the real men and women who once ruled Africa. (Pictured: King Prempeh of Ashanti in 1922)

Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia; undated Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia; undated The Ethiopian king is widely credited with expanding and modernizing his country. He's also remembered for his decisive victory against Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War in 1896. Empress Taytu Betul, Abyssinia; circa 1880 Hulton Archive/Getty Images Empress Taytu Betul, Abyssinia; circa 1880 The third wife of Meneleik II, she founded what is now Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa. King Cetewayo, Zululand; circa 1883 Hulton Archive/Getty Images King Cetewayo, Zululand; circa 1883 The king of Zululand from 1873 to 1883, Cetewayo led his troops to victory against the British in the Battle of Isandlwana. Queen Ranavalona III, Madagascar; undated Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images Queen Ranavalona III, Madagascar; undated Reigning from 1883-1897, Ranavalona III was the last sovereign of the Kingdom of Madagascar. Princess of Mellacourri, Sierra Leone; circa 1900 W. W. Roberts/Getty Images Princess of Mellacourri, Sierra Leone; circa 1900 The Sierra Leone royalty reclines on a simple chair. Paramount Chief Auyama, Enugu; 1928 Planet News Archive/SSPL via Getty Images Paramount Chief Auyama, Enugu; 1928 The King of Enugu, Southern Nigeria, is pictured here with his wife and heir-apparent, a leopard skin beneath their feet, in preparation for a trip to England. Emperor Haile Selassie, Ethiopia; 1930 Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images Emperor Haile Selassie, Ethiopia; 1930 The Emperor of Ethiopia seen with his family shortly after his coronation. He would rule until 1974, dying the following year after a coup d'état. He was Ethiopia's last emperor and a central figure in the nation's history. He worked to modernize the country and brought it into the United Nations, yet some of his regime's actions were also called into question by human rights groups. Among the Rastafari, he is considered the Messiah. King Musinga, Belgian Congo; 1931 Planet News Archive/SSPL via Getty Images King Musinga, Belgian Congo; 1931 Seen seated here at a tribal conference, Musinga ruled what would later become known as Rwanda from 1896 to 1931. King Nyimi Mbope Mabintshi, Kuba Kingdom; 1947 Eliot Elisofon/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images King Nyimi Mbope Mabintshi, Kuba Kingdom; 1947 Swathed in his royal ceremonial attire (known as a bwaantshy), the King is surrounded by his aides. The Kuba Kingdom is now known as Democratic Republic of Congo.