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).
a quick and dirty Google search for <frigate Philadelphia renamed> brought up the Defense Media Network site, https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/sto ... 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 http://www.historynet.com/tripoli-fighting-pirates.htm
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.