The State of Katanga was a Central African country that existed from 1960 to 1963. The gold-rich region of Katanga in the southern parts of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared its independence from Congo-Leopoldville in 1960 with support from Belgium, and Belgian ally Moise Tshombe became its president. Belgium supported Katanga to protect its mining interests from the nationalist government in Leopoldville, despite the CONAKAT party's views that the mineral riches of Katanga belonged to the Katangese only. Belgium provided military assistance by training Katangese gendarmes and by hiring mercenaries to assist the Katangese against the Congo-Leopoldville government, but Belgium never recognized Katanga as an independent state. In 1963, the Leopoldville government conquered Katanga and added it to Congo.