People have lived in Rum for thousands of years, struggling to survive in its harsh environment. They have been hunters, pastoralists, farmers and traders, as Rum is close to national borders. Even the famous Nabateans once occupied Rum, leaving behind several structures, including a temple.
Local people gained notoriety more recently when they joined the arab revolt forces under the leadership of king Faisal and fought along with Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt (1917/18) to fight the occupying Turkish and German armies. Lawrence himself makes many references to Wadi Rum in his book ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, a title apparently inspired by one of Rome’s imposing mountains. The exploits of Lawrence have become part of local folklore, and some popular tourist sites are named after him, although whether he used these exact sites is open to debate.