[Daily article] May 4: Battle of the Coral Sea

The Battle of the Coral Sea (4–8 May 1942) was the first battle of
World War II in which the Allies were able to stop a major advance of
the Imperial Japanese Navy. Japanese forces, including two fleet
carriers and a light carrier, had orders to invade and occupy Port
Moresby in New Guinea and Tulagi in the southeastern Solomon Islands.
The US intercepted their communications, and sent two carrier task
forces and a joint Australian–American cruiser force to stop them. On
3–4 May Japanese forces took Tulagi, although several of their
supporting warships were sunk or damaged by aircraft from the US carrier
Yorktown. On 7–8 May the opposing carrier forces exchanged airstrikes
in the Coral Sea. Yorktown was damaged, and the USS Lexington was
scuttled (explosion pictured). After the loss of the Japanese carrier
Shōhō and heavy damage to Shōkaku, the Port Moresby invasion was
scrapped, and never reattempted. The Japanese losses led to a greater
loss a month later at the Battle of Midway, where all four of their
large aircraft carriers were sunk. Two months later, the Allies launched
the Guadalcanal Campaign, hastening Japan’s ejection from the South

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter caetera,
establishing a line of demarcation dividing the New World between Spain
and Portugal.


The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations became
the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the
British Crown.


An unknown assailant threw a bomb into a crowd of police,
turning a peaceful labor rally in Chicago into the Haymarket massacre,
which resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four


An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu in
the Himalayas, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-metre peak.


The Parliament of Malta moved from the Grandmaster’s Palace to
the purpose-built Parliament House.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

(science fiction) A sword having a blade made of a powerful beam of

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  I do not agree with the extremists of either the left or the
right, but I think they should be allowed to speak and to publish, both
because they themselves have, and ought to have, rights, and once their
rights are gone, the rights of the rest of us are hardly safe.
Extremists typically want to squash not only those who disagree with
them diametrically, but those who disagree with them at all. It seems to
me that in every country where extremists of the left have gotten
sufficiently in the saddle to squash the extremists of the right, they
have ridden on to squash the center or terrorize it also. And the same
goes for extremists of the right. I do not want that to happen in our
–Jane Jacobs

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