The act of cession is the assignment of property to another entity. In international law it commonly refers to land transferred by treaty. Ballentine's Law Dictionary defines cession as "a surrender; a giving up; a relinquishment of jurisdiction by a board in favor of another agency" In contrast with annexation, where property is forcibly given up, cession is voluntary or at least apparently so.
In 1790, the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia both ceded land to create the District of Columbia, as specified in the U.S. Constitution of the previous year. The Virginia portion was given back in 1847, a process known as "retrocession".
Territory can also be ceded for payment, such as in the Louisiana Purchase and Alaska Purchase. Even fraud can be involved, such as in the Treaty of New Echota, whereby lands already taken in 1832 by outright theft of the U.S. state of Georgia were later "ceded" to the state by a Cherokee leader.
Specific areas of law 
Contract law 
This is a yielding up, or release. France ceded Louisiana to the United States by the treaty of Paris, of April 30, 1803. Spain made a cession of East and West Florida by the treaty of February 22, 1819. Cessions have been severally made of a part of their territory by New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Civil law 
Under the civil law system, cession is the equivalent of assignment, and therefore, is an act by which a personal claim is transferred from the assignor (the cedent) to the assignee (the cessionary). Whereas real rights are transferred by delivery, personal rights are transferred by cession. Once the obligation of the debtor is transferred, the cessionary is entirely substituted. The original creditor (cedent) loses his right to claim and the new creditor (cessionary) gains that right.
Ecclesiastical law 
See also 
- Ballentine's Law Dictionary, p. 72.
- Balentine's Law Dictionary, p. 72.
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