The Coral Sea is a marginal sea off the north-east coast of Australia. It is bounded in the west by the east coast of Queensland, thereby including the Great Barrier Reef, in the east by the New Hebrides and by New Caledonia, and in the north approximately by the southern extremity of the Solomon Islands. South of it is the Tasman Sea. While the Great Barrier Reef with its islands and cays belong to Queensland, most reefs and islets east of it are part of the Coral Sea Islands Territory. In addition, some islands west of and belonging to New Caledonia are also part of the Coral Sea Islands in a geographical sense, such as the Chesterfield Islands and Bellona Reefs.
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from May 4 – May 8, 1942, with most of the action occurring on May 7 and May 8, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States and Australia. It was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.