Capitulation Law and Legal Definition

Capitulation refers to the act of surrendering or giving in. In International law it refers to an agreement to surrender a fortified place or a military or naval force. A commander who is in control can make such an agreement for the place or force. Once surrendered by capitulation, all the property of the inhabitants protected by the articles is considered by the law of nations as neutral, and therefore is not subject to capture on the high seas by the belligerent or its ally.

Historically, it refers to an agreement between a Christian state and a non-Christian one (such as the Ottoman Empire) giving subjects of the former certain privileges in the territory of the latter.