District 13

District 13 is one of the districts of the nation of Panem. It acted as an independent nation for 75 years before the Second Rebellion.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

The rebellion began in District 13, which acted as the communications center and military base for the rebels during the Second Rebellion. Containing a huge nuclear and military arsenal, it was primarily responsible for the rebel victory – finally freeing the districts of Panem from the oppressive rule of the Capitol.

District 13 Definition

There are 13 administrative districts in Panem, and District 13 is one of them. It specialized in nuclear weaponry and graphite mining before the First Rebellion. Most people in the country believe that District 13 was obliterated after the rebellion due to propaganda spread by the Capitol. However, the truth was that District 13 was simply biding its time underground, gathering weapons and resources to launch another full-scale rebellion against the Capitol.


District 13 is located towards the north of the Appalachian mountains, about a week-long journey away from District 12. It is situated somewhere close to Lake Ontario near New York, which currently sports several nuclear plants. In the map of Panem, District 13 falls under the north-easternmost part of the country, bordered by the woods of Districts 12, 6, and 9.

People of District 13

The people of District 13 despise excess in all forms and venerate frugality. This can be attributed to their difficult history of disease and death. As a result, the district developed a highly regimented lifestyle that is followed by all citizens and refugees. The lifestyle begins at a particular time every morning and involves various activities throughout the day. The activities are determined by a tattoo that is stamped on a person’s arm every morning, detailing their schedule for the day. The ink on the tattoo breaks down and can be washed off within a day, allowing the next day’s schedule to be stamped on with ease.

Children under 14 attend school compulsory, where they are taught various subjects including history and medicine. After they turn 14, they are given the title of “soldier” and allowed to specialize in the field they excel in. For example, Primrose Everdeen learned to practice healing like her mother, while Greasy Sae was sent to work in the kitchens. Every day, citizens are provided with half an hour of downtime. Called “Reflection,”  this time is usually spent with family and friends.

Pets in any form are not allowed, as they represent a threat to security. However, the leaders made an exception to this rule for Katniss’ cat, Buttercup, who was allowed to remain with Prim under strict conditions. Katniss was also allowed to hunt above ground with Gale (hunting is prohibited in District 13) while wearing ankle trackers and agreeing to provide games to the kitchens.

Celebrations were limited in District 13, and weddings were extremely low-key. The citizens never took any holidays, a luxury that Katniss notes was provided to even the poverty-ridden District 12.


District 13 was likely oppressed by the Capitol like any other district in the country before the First Rebellion. As one of the administrative districts, District 13 produced nuclear weapons as its primary industry and mined graphite on a small scale as its secondary industry. As such, District 13 was the hub of technology, nuclear development, and science for many years, until the breakout of the First Rebellion. 

During the rebellion, District 13’s military arsenal posed a significant threat to the Capitol. However, when the invasion of the Capitol failed and chances for a rebel victory were fast dwindling, District 13 negotiated a peace treaty. They trained their weapons on the Capitol, and, being aware of the Capitol’s stockpile of weapons in the West, threatened mutual destruction. The Capitol realized that this could potentially destroy the entire country in a nuclear blowout. They therefore allowed District 13 to peacefully secede from the government. In return, District 13 agreed to withdraw its support for the rebels and pretend to be destroyed.

The Capitol thus dropped several bombs on District 13 and completely obliterated any signs of life above the ground, while the people of District 13 retired underground. The government then proceeded to spread propaganda about District 13, claiming that it was destroyed entirely during the rebellion. They also showed fake videos of the smoldering remains of District 13 and spread misinformation about District 13’s primary industry, which they claimed was graphite mining.

District 13 as an Independent Nation

While the Capitol hoped that political isolation would eventually kill off the residents of District 13, this was not the case. The residents did struggle to remain alive, especially through a couple of epidemics that killed most of the children and left a majority of the population infertile. However, by implementing a strict militaristic regime, adopting a frugal lifestyle, and preparing constantly for outside threats, the citizens managed to stay alive. The people of District 13 were highly welcoming of refugees, especially because it offered them new breeding stock to re-populate the district.

Secret Rebellion

In exchange for freedom from the Capitol, District 13 promised not to attack the Capitol with its considerable arsenal of nuclear weaponry. However, District 13 never meant to keep its promise. Soon after signing the peace treaty, the district rallied its forces and began producing new weaponry and technology to bring down the Capitol. Unfortunately, the district was no match for the might of the Capitol until several decades later, when it had developed a military arsenal formidable enough to take on the Capitol.

District 13 proved invaluable during the Second Rebellion, both acting as the military base and communications center for the rebel forces. The district provided arms, resources, armed forces as well as air support for the rebel cause, thereby securing a much-awaited victory against the government.

Hidden Technology

District 13 continued to innovate and invent new technology for survival, including technology that allowed the citizens to maximize their resources and live frugally. The district also produced new weapons over several decades, including nuclear weapons to defeat the Capitol. 

Upon Katniss’ arrival in District 13, she is trained to use technologically advanced bows and arrows, with many of the arrows containing special features. Similarly, the rest of Katniss’ squad was provided with advanced weapons to defend themselves. The leader of the squad, Boggs, also carried a device called the Holo, which provided a comprehensive map of the Capitol, including the various pods (booby traps set by the Capitol), spread across the land.

Following the peace treaty, District 13 retained the Capitol’s fleet of hovercraft, which they used during the Second Rebellion to great effect.


What is District 13 in The Hunger Games?

District 13 was once a part of the nation of Panem. However, it seceded from the Capitol after the First Rebellion and set up a secret base underground – gathering weapons and resources to take down the Capitol.

Why does District 13 not participate in the Hunger Games?

The official party line is that District 13 was obliterated for rebelling against the Capitol. However, the truth is that District 13 was allowed to secretly secede from the government. This is why it does not participate in the Hunger Games.

Why is Effie in District 13?

Effie becomes a member of the rebellion and relocates to District 13 in Mockingjay. In District 13, Effie assists Haymitch in turning Katniss into a venerable symbol of the rebellion.

Is there a District 14 in The Hunger Games?

No, there is no District 14 in the Hunger Games novels by Suzanne Collins. There are a total of 13 districts each of which specialised in a particular industry.

Why are there no children in District 13?

According to Prim, the reason that there are so few children in District 13 is because of an epidemic that killed most of them (including President Alma Coin’s family). The epidemic also left most adults infertile.

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