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The free Banach lattice over a Banach space is introduced and analyzed. This generalizes the concept of free Banach lattice over a set of generators, and allows us to study the Nakano property and the density character of non-degenerate intervals on these spaces, answering some recent questions of B. de Pagter and A.W. Wickstead. Moreover, an example of a Banach lattice which is weakly compactly generated as a lattice but not as a Banach space is exhibited, thus answering a question of J. Diestel. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.