Page 1 of 1

Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 2:18 pm
by Grammont
I have been unable to find any English language sources that state what the USS Philadelphia was renamed following its capture by Tripoli. The Americans in contemporary documents still refer to the ship as the Philadelphia even after its capture. Are there any Turkish or Arabic sources that actually give what it was renamed to?

Re: Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 5:02 pm
by Navclio
Who says that it was renamed? European navies (and the U.S.) often kept the original names of ships that they captured and put in service. That's how the British navy came to have a "fighting Temeraire," the French navy to have a "Northumberland," the Swedish navy to have a "Vladislav," and the Russian navy to have a "Prints Gustav." Keeping the original name, which often made the country it had been captured from obvious, was a way to boast about the exploit of capturing it. And when the original capture was used up or obsolete, a new ship could be named for it. (The original British Téméraire was a 74-gun ship of the line captured in 1759, but at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, there was a battleship named Temeraire armed with ten 12-inch guns, the fourth of her name in the British navy; a fifth, to have nine 16-inch guns, was laid down in 1939 but not completed, and cancelled in 1944.) So the Tripolitans might just have respelled it to something they could pronounce, something like Filadelfiya if you transliterated back to the Roman alphabet.

Re: Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 5:39 pm
by AvM
I have anywhere some notes on it, but could not find them at the moment
1) A "dangerous" name was cited, have to look for it
2) A name " A gift of Allah" was also used.

Arab states very oft used for dift or captuired ships names as "Portuguese", "American","Swedish",
but usually origina ow names were used.

Re: Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 7:56 pm
by Grammont
1) The USS Philadelphia is named after the city where it was built

2) Philadelphia, USA is named after the Greek, Roman and Byzantine city of Philadelphia in Asia Minor (Turkey), one of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

3) The name therefore has considerable Christian connotations, therefore it seems extremely unlikely that an Islamic navy would have a warship with such a name.

4) The city fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1390 and was renamed Alaşehir.

5) Therefore Alaşehir would make sense.

Re: Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:06 pm
by Navclio
Names with nationalities in them are found in foreign lists of Barbary ship names that are also full of what are obvious translations into Spanish, French, English, Dutch, or whatever language the author or compiler of the list was writing in.

I have read about the Philadelphia capture in the past without recalling any mention of a name given to the ship by the captors. Two recent U.S. navy histories that describe the capture and recapture without any mention of a renaming are Leonard F. Guttridge, The Commodores (New York: Harper & Row, 1969) and William M. Fowler, Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783–1815 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984).

HOWEVER a quick and dirty Google search for <frigate Philadelphia renamed> brought up the Defense Media Network site, ... lphia/with the mention, "after salvaging both ship and cannon, the Philadelphia was restored, renamed the Gift of Allah, and made a part of the defenses of Tripoli harbor" and a claim by that the Tripolitans were "planning to rename the ship Gift of Allah." Searching on <Philadelphia "Gift of Allah"> gets hits on quite a number of mentions, including
  • William R. Nester, The Jeffersonian Vision, 1801–1815: The Art of American Power during the Early Republic (Potomac Books, Inc., 2013), no p. no. in online excerpt
  • Brendan January, The Aftermath of the Wars against the Barbary Pirates (Twenty-First Century Books, 2009), p. 35
  • Christopher G. Bates, The Early Republic and Antebellum America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History (Routledge, 2015), p. 126
There are more, including a history of the U.S. Marine Corps. No source for this information is given in any of the above or in several later Google hits, not even an earlier publication, and it could be early misinformation repeated by recent writers. The mentions are in 21st-century accounts; somewhere the "Gift of Allah" renaming has appeared, but where, I can't tell. It must, of course, be a translation. Going in the other direction, Google Translate converts "The Gift of Allah" into هبة الله. There is an accompanying "hibat allah" which might be a transliteration; I can convert the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets into Roman, but not the Arabic.

The new name was of course of no interest to the U.S. navy officers reporting on the loss or the recapture, and would probably not appear in any official U.S. Navy documents. The crew might have learned of the name and mentioned it after their release, in memoirs or newspaper accounts. "Gift of Allah" might also have been a description of the ship which the prisoners mistook for a name, much as the capture of an enemy ship that ran aground in a harbor might be described as a "fortunate [for the captors] accident," and then be misunderstood by the captured crew as having been renamed Fortunate Accident.

"Gift of Allah" might also be a vile, hateful, bigoted assumption based on the contemporary U.S. attitudes toward ignorant, superstitious Arab Musselmen (as the estimable inhabitants of Tripoli would have been described by 1803 Americans).

Some Algerian and Tunisian history has been translated into and published in French. Whether any Tripolitan history has been translated into and published in Italian, I don't know. Contemporary documentation, if any has survived, would of course, be in the Arabic language and alphabet.

Re: Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:25 pm
by Navclio
I've lost messages before by taking too long before posting them. Further follow-up . . .

Googling <Philadelphia "hibat allah"> brings up the Arabic phrase—maybe it really is how Arabs say and write "Gift of Allah"—in association with events in or books published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., or about the place in Asia Minor that also discusses Arabic or Muslim matters, but nothing about the U.S. Navy frigate captured in 1803. Googling <frigate Philadephia 1803 "hibat allah"> doesn't get anything about the frigate with the words "hibat allah." The renaming might have been to a different Arabic phrase that also means "Gift of Allah," or perhaps writers in English have just taken that translation from somewhere without tracing it back to Tripolitan documents.

We can be sure that the ship was not renamed in English, but whether it was assigned an Arabic name, and the name meant "Gift of Allah" if translated into English, remains for me an open question. Writing this follow-up reminded me that in both the Ottoman navy and in the (mostly private) naval forces of Algiers, what Europeans considered ship "names" were descriptions, often of the decoration on the ship. A ship with a painting of a deer, say, on the bow or the stern might be referred to (in Arabic) as the "white buck," and that phrase might then be taken as the ship's "name" and translated by a European into his language, as, say Le chevreuil blanc or El gamo blanco. So the Tripolitans might have been referring to ex-U.S.S. Philadelphia as the "Gift of Allah" without actually naming her Hibat Allah.

Re: Renaming of the USS Philadelphia

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:34 pm
by AvM ... ladelphia/

There is suggested that the ship was renamed GIFT OF GOD instead of GIFT OF ALLAH
ehjat is more plausible, as Muslim never user name ALLAH in their ship names,
but name GOD was used frewuenty

Governor Yusuf Pasha Al-Qurmali decided to rename it as GIFT OF GOD “هبة الله”. (but it is "hbat allh")