Metagranitic orthogneisses are abundant in the Central Iberian Zone (CIZ). This felsic magmatism has a highly peraluminous composition (A/CNK = 1.07-1.62) defining a typical S-type granite character, common in crustal thickening environments. The studied Spanish Central System (SCS) orthogneisses yield Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician U-Pb zircon ages (496 to 481 Ma), overlapping with the available literature data (mostly from 477 to 500 Ma). These orthogneisses are intrusive into metasedimentary sequences from the northern CIZ that have been recently dated at about 536 Ma. Late Ediacaran inherited zircons are common in the SCS orthogneisses (10% to 75% of the total zircon population). Most inheritance ranges from Neoproterozoic to Late Mesoproterozoic in age (0.52 to 1.25 Ga) and shows marked positive [U+0510]Hft values (>+5). This long period of Proterozoic juvenile input is only recognized in the metasedimentary rocks of the Schist-Greywacke Complex, outcropping in the southern CIZ. The proposed linkage between the southern CIZ metasediments (as sources) and the studied orthogneisses is reinforced by their similar Nd isotopic signatures (from -2.81 to -4.95) and the highly peraluminous character of the orthogneisses. The intrusion of this felsic magmatism within the northern CIZ, having been generated by melting of the more distal southern CIZ metasediments, together with their recycled crustal origin, suggests crustal thickening of the northern Gondwana margin during a period of flat subduction. The orthogneisses define a large linear S-type magmatic belt cropping out for over 650 km from central Spain to Galicia. The ~35 Ma delay between sedimentation and granite intrusion is a typical time interval for crustal thickening models. This thickening stage evolved toward a passive margin setting, allowing the deposition of the siliciclastic Ordovician series which covered the previous terranes. Minor Floian-aged tholeiitic magmatism, giving rise to scarce metabasite outcrops in the SCS, probably postdates thickening and marks this tectonic change in central Iberia.